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Stadium deal is dead; Checketts may sell RSL
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2007, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Posted: 1:58 PM- After nearly a year of politically charged starts and stops, the

controversial deal for a Sandy soccer stadium is dead.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon said he told Real Salt Lake

owner Dave Checketts on Monday morning he is unwilling to funnel $30

million in old and new hotel taxes toward the $110 million stadium

project.

"It was tough," said Corroon, an RSL season-ticket holder. "If

anybody wanted this to work, it was me."

Checketts told Corroon he now intends to sell the team.

"He said he would have a buyer by Friday," Corroon said.

The news caused a frenzy on Utah's Capitol Hill, where Corroon

shuttled between meetings with House Speaker Greg Curtis, R-Sandy,

and Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. to deliver the news.

Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan, who also was at the Capitol, said he learned

of the decision from reporters. Dolan said he was not surprised.

"I am sorry there is no vision in Salt Lake County," he said.

Dolan said the project would have been good for the county. The

move "unfortunately" sends the signal that the county cannot handle

major-league sports," Dolan said.

"That's to the detriment of the entire community," he said.

At a late-morning news conference, Corroon insisted the move is not

about the popularity of soccer in Utah. Instead, he emphasized the

county's responsibility to protect taxpayers, calling the stadium

project an "unsafe investment."

"We were gambling with taxpayer dollars," the county mayor said.

"It just didn't make sense."

Last Friday, Corroon received a negative recommendation to fund the

project from the county's Debt Review Committee by a 4-0 vote. That

followed an independent consultant's report that suggested the team's

projections were overly optimistic. It also predicted RSL could not

pay all its debt.

Based on that analysis, which Corroon noted was always a condition

of approval, the mayor made up his mind.

"As far as I'm concerned," he said. "We're done."

County insiders say the conversation between Corroon and Checketts

turned testy earlier in the morning. Afterward, Checketts announced

on KSL Radio's "Doug Wright Show" that the deal was dead and he would

sell the team.

djensen@sltrib.com

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