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Different paths to Election Day in ballpark bond battle


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Election Day is inching closer, and so is the deciding vote in whether the City of Wilmington will build a ballpark.

You've probably seen the yard signs, bumper stickers, social media messages and even commercials, but how are the campaigns continuing to get the word out?

We reached out to "Vote Yes" campaign spokesman Terry Spencer to see how they will continue to reach out to voters, but he was too busy to do an interview.

"Vote No Stadium Tax" spokesman Scott Harry says his group is handing out yard signs and reaching out to voters through a grass roots effort. Harry says he believes the "Vote Yes" group will ramp up its efforts before election day, but he says it may be too late.

"It's not over until it's over, but when I was in line to vote saturday, everybody in line around me was against it. When one of my employees was in line to vote opening day of early voting, everybody in line around him was against it," Harry said.

The "Vote Yes" group's campaign slogan is "Get the Facts." Harry believes to really do that, voters need to read the proposal between the city and Mandalay Baseball and the Atlanta Braves. That proposal details where the $37 million in bond money would go and other aspects of ballpark plan.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.


The Other Deal

The city has never considered any deal that did not use the polluted ground near the Convention Center. The Mayor has stars in his eyes and Mandalay has played him like a drum. You know Ripken can not come forward with their deal until the agreement the city signed with Mandalay expires due to MLB rules. So, you use this to claim it doesn't exist.
If you are not Terry Spencer and you have followed this proposal from the start, then there is no possible way you do not know who Terry Spencer is. I thought Mandalay had gagged all of you because they were/are tired of all of your lies getting exposed.
This deal is so bad that the only logical explanation of anyone supporting it is if they have something to gain or they are too stupid to justify the air they breathe.................

And BTW, Jason Thompson went on TV and explained the Ripken deal and the other party did acknowledge the talks had taken place. That is not rumor, that is fact.

You seem to be quick to demand proof of others, why don't you try to find one thing your side has claimed that can be proven with facts instead of conjecture......Once again I ask you to sign your name and prove who you are......Mandalay is scraping the bottom of the barrel looking for shills if you are not Terry Spencer.......

Wait until November 7

when the referendum nose dives. When Mandalanta realizes it must write the check.

When that exclusive position between the city and Mandalanta withers away.

Watch Ripken Group and the County come together.

By the way, what ever happened to that expensive ad campaign you indicated would be on the airwaves?

Have we really heard any concrete facts on the city/mandalanta pillaging plan?


Why would we adjust the tax rate for operation cost when in fact Mandalay is responsible for that
From the MOU:
"Except as otherwise set forth herein, the Operator shall pay all operating expenses for, and shall bear all losses resulting from, the management and operation of the Ballpark"

yes I'm well aware that tax rates can be adjusted
So tell me, when was the last time tax rates were adjusted to reflect the city having too much of our money outside of real estate valuation adjustments?

YOU may not like the fact that we are looking at the impact on all taxpayers which includes principle AND interest but lets face it - that's what we HAVE to pay for the stadium.
Yes we would own the building and the property and allow an independent party to operate a for profit business on those grounds.

yes I disagree with that premise Terry and I disagree with the lies that are posted on YOUR website that imply guaranteed success and economic impact from that stadium. All sorts of studies indicate that MINOR LEAGUE BALL FIELDS have little to no impact on a city with very few exceptions.
You may not like the facts but they are what they are.
Honesty is a two way street Terry - take down your lies from your website and I'll talk to Scott about changing the wording of his ad to say we have to pay back over $75M when in fact the net worth of the Braves and Mandalay combined is approaching $1.0 BILLION dollars.
Oh wait - that happens to be the truth


DUH !!

The city sets the real property tax rate based on the current value of every property and adjusts tax rates annually based on the projected cost to operate the city. In your efforts to over state and examine every detail of stadium ownership both for this project and projects in every other city you seem to have developed some one tract thinking. I regret confusing you but most cities operate on covering projected cost which if passed the stadium will become part of.

RE: So I guess you mean

Terry said, "Since the deception of the ad speaks for itself."

I find this statement unbelievable coming from you. Your whole PCB website is pure fiction and you dispute something that is proven? From your early claims of "10's of thousands of new visitors" to Chuck's claims of "10 million dollars in new sales tax revenue each year." The lies the pro side have used are just plain crazy. What is in this deal for you? There has to be something or you would have quit supporting this as soon as the deal was released. Unless you are stupid, there is no way you would sign this one sided deal that the city did. With the Ripken Group waiting to build this stadium without tax payer funding, why does PCB support using tax dollars instead? I will ask you once again, What is in this deal for you?

PCB aka Port City Baseball should be supporting the best deal possible to bring minor league baseball to New Hanover County. What has blinded you to your original goal? All your lies and deception have hurt your cause. You resorted to name calling because that is all you have left. Whatever you have planned for the 11th hour media blitz will back fire like everything else you have tried. You underestimate and insult peoples intelligence with the campaign you have run.

The 2 main things(and there are many more)that cripple you are these:
1- The Braves owner is a billionaire beggar, he should pay for his own stadium and become an asset to the community instead of a leach....
2- Any economic benefit shows up immediately if you do not have to pay off a 54 million dollar, 20 year mortgage first. A privately owned stadium does not cost the tax payers maintenance and upkeep either. The owners also pay property taxes. Why do you refuse to acknowledge this?

With all the other rising costs the citizens of Wilmington are facing, becoming a welfare center for a billionaire is one they can say no to.......

What's in it for him?

he's hoping someone in a high banking position will marvel at his marketing acumen in getting the city to pony up the funds to buy a brownfield site which appears to be on the verge of foreclosure.

The site is toxic in more ways than one.

He must believe he can get another job in banking if he can just pull the wool over someone's eyes.


Why don't you guys meet at the bus stop and take the next bus to Terry's
and ask him all the questions you write volumes about in his name. I am not your Terry and I believe you do him a dis-service by misusing his name. I would think even the few people reading your spew would call this a form of NAME CALLING. Come on boys, lets grow up a little.

Name Callling

Mr. T or whatever you choose to call yourself this second, all your side has ever done is use disparaging remarks against those that disagree with you and spout outright lies to try and sell your position. I went back over the blogs on this issue and you (and all the others that use Mr. T) have been posting from the beginning. For you to say say you do not know who Terry Spencer is comical. I will ask you again why you act like the world will end if when this deal is rejected? This is a terrible deal for the city, just read the MOU. This is a huge debt for the city to undertake to become a welfare center for a billionaire.

Why don't you list the benefits this project will do for the city? And instead of hot air and predictions, list things that can actually be deposited in a bank as profits. Please show how these profits pay off the stadium loan, pay for maintenance,upkeep, and repairs, and are profits the city will receive for it's investment.

Why don't you also ask the City and Mandalay to release the final signed contract before the election? I feel that even someone as narrow minded as you will agree that it is just plain stupid to vote on something costing millions of dollars without knowing the final details before the vote.......I know you will not do any of what I have requested, you will probably comment once again about what you perceive as trust issues..........If you want to gain trust, answer questions with facts instead of fairy tales, and do not hide behind a shill name that it would appear many people use.........

If it walks, talks,

and acts like a Terry, it must be a Terry.


I believe the taxes are paid in full.

Whats in it for him?
All I can see is a self inflated ego.
A higher value of self esteem?
I don't know.

I don't care either


what taxes?

I said toxic. Foreclosed, or soon to be foreclosed real estate is considered a toxic bank asset.

They initiated foreclosure, I believe in 2010; then the property owners attempted to avoid the bullet by going to bankruptcy; and that got shot down as we have previously reported.

If this sale does not go through, watch for foreclosure.

And perhaps Terry is a former banker who would like to return to banking.

I've raised that issue previously.

As to taxes being paid, I am not so sure about that. The bankruptcy proceeding called for 5 years worth of payments to New Hanover County. If that's not for past due property taxes, I'm not certain what it would be for.

And, at this late date, either New Hanover County or the lender should be getting the paperwork ready for filing.


I don't believe that the county could do anything except for non payment of taxes which as I stated are paid i full from what I've heard.
Sure the bank can foreclose for lack of loan payment - but I have no idea as to the status of that.
Sorry for the confusion - to me, taxes are toxic which then leads to very poorly worded posts.........


the foreclosure file made no reference as to the nature of the 5 year payments to the County. If not back property taxes, then what would they be?

If I am familiar with banking law, and I think I am, the mortgage holder, unless a private lender and not a bank or savings and loan, will be required to foreclose. They really will not have much option.

And of course, that will wipe out the interest of the 3 individuals holding the second mortgage. Unless they step in and pay off the first.

So, in the not too forseebale future, it is possible the parcel of overpriced and toxic real estate will be on the market for sale as an REO.


The cost to taxpayers is $75M and will rise over time with real estate values rising.
No one (on either side) asked for extra funds - that was the cities "doing" and was recognized by the anti stadium people - including me.
"the stadium" will cost $54M of which Mandalay will pay 18% or $10M making it one of the worst deals in MiLB history - regardless of what Mandalay pays back.

To say the stadium will cost $37M is disingenuous, even for you. It is like saying your $200,000 home only cost $200,000 when in fact is $325,000 over the 30 year mortgage.

I am appalled by Mandalay paying a fixed amount over 20 years and keeping the naming rights to building WE are paying for.

I will repeat - this is the WORST deal I've seen in MiLB.

And Terry - be careful with this line of thought. If RE should rise in value rapidly the stadium bond will cost taxpayers FAR more than $75M, and far more than a lunch per month as your side claims..


Voted "NO"

Well, I voted yesterday and I had smart enough to vote "NO"

Why Do WE Have to Pay for It?

Greensboro stadium - Privately funded

Zebulon stadium - Funded by a Wake Co 1% tax on "prepared food", meaning it's something you can choose not to buy

Charlotte stadium - Mostly private funded

Winston Salem - Developer borrowed the money from the city to build it and is paying back 100%, with interest

These are just some of the stadiums in our own state where the taxpayers aren't forced to foot the entire bill. There are hundreds more around the country. Why is it that Wilmington is the one city where, according to the Braves people, private funding "just isn't done any more"? Sounds like they're just trying to fool us poor local yokels into believing something that just isn't true.


And don't forget the creme de la creme -the Durham stadium.
The holy grail for the pro side.
This was a small part of a $1.1B investment in what was a run down "down town" area. The city invested $400M (To include the ballpark) and private investors kicked in $700M.
And yet John Hinnant agreed AGREED mind you that the stadium loses money.
If the down town was that vibrant and the ballpark that popular you would think it would be profitable !!
Socializing costs to privatize profits is Hinnants claim to fame. And why not? He's paid by the city donation to WDI.



when the referendum fails, will Hinnant be looking for new employment opportunities?

In baseball you get 3 strikes.

Strike 1 -- use of WDI credit card for stogies and other personal items.

Strike 2 -- seeting up that garden spot, last year, in a couple of downtown parking spaces which resulted in a Police summons.

Strike 3 -- failure of the referendum to pass; and look at the Port City Baseball website to see his support and smiling face. He's issued false statements on the ballpark potential; and one has to think his involvement is to spruce up his resume which he should be circulating now before the referendum nose dives to the ground.

In the private sector, he'd be gone.


Hinnant survives UNLESS the city comes to its senses and stops funding WDI which is a useless organization in my opinion.
I firmly believe the city is in a position to attract businesses without needing cheerleader. Wilmington seems to have this problem that it somehow doesn't measure up to larger cities like Raleigh, Durham. Charlotte and Winston Salem.
My thought is why do you want to measure up to them? We have a certain set of circumstances here that make us unique as a municipality. Hinnant has his hand out looking for that next government "gimme" as a way to justify his sense of self importance.
He's a spokesperson for a group that needs none.



The claim that Terry Spencer is too busy to do an interview is laughable. I wonder why he passed up a golden opportunity to present his case......

The fact that there is another option out there that gives this area a stadium without tax payer funding should end the discussion for the current deal. Any economic benefit the area receives from a stadium happens immediately if there is not millions of dollars in loans that have to be paid off first. The fact that the owner of the Braves is a "billionaire beggar" is not lost on the tax payers either. He can easily afford to pay for his own stadium and become an asset to the area instead of a leach.......

So what ever happened with

So what ever happened with the debate. I never saw a follow up story. Some of us working folks couldn't make it there or in front of a TV. What were the hi lights , specifically Saffo and OGrady's comments.

Re: So what ever happened with...

The debate is this Thursday night at 7pm.

private funding YES

If the stadium was such a good thing for the entire community, then a sales tax increase should have been proposed instead of a property tax increase which raises the BS flag.

It is clear the when the path to use property tax is taken, it increases the chances of passing because Renters feel that voting yes is a win win for them. What they don't see is the end affect of where their landlords raise the rents to make up the increase in taxes.

Hopefully a majority will see the fallacy of the Yes folks position as recently highlighted by some good people that have done a lot of research which has revealed that the Wilmington deal is ROTTEN when compared with sweet deals reached by other cities. A NO vote will force the city back to the table with the baseball negotiators and you can be assured that a better deal will be reached that favors all.


the only thing the landowners can do is to pass the increase onto their renters.. and that will include raising rents on apartment or condo renters too....

Renters Beware

I certainly hope that in the debate, that significant light is shed on the fact that landlords have NO CHOICE but to raise the rents on their tenants. This will hopefully sway "the renters" in the proper direction of a NO VOTE on the stadium tax.

A. Landowner

Agree but for different reasons:
"If the stadium was such a good thing for the entire community, then a sales tax increase should have been proposed instead of a property tax increase which raises the BS flag."

The city could issue special obligation bonds which would designate sales taxes be used but I doubt they would do that.
They could also work with the County to get an Article 39 tax passed. This sales tax would be piggy backed on state sale taxes but would revert back to the county assessing this tax. The current county commissioners are not too keen on the stadium and the 6 candidates running for the 3 spots have all come out AGAINST a taxpayer funded stadium.
You also have to keep in mind what the school committee has said about new schools. They are already talking a school building bond of hundreds of millions of dollars to alleviate over crowding. This would definitely put the stadium on the back burner, as it should as schools are infrastructure.

As for the deal? It is poorly negotiated with the city bearing the brunt of the costs. Mandalay pays 18% the city 82% over the 20 year term. It is by far one of the worst stadium deals recently done if you go by what NSS has to say about it in chap 10.
By the way, for anyone who cares - the NSS report is tragically flawed in this regard. They deliberately ignore financing costs when showing comparable ballparks. Think about it his way
Without interest?
Mandalay is paying $10M of a $37M stadium build.
Not bad eh? Now think about it with interest:
Mandalay is paying $10M of a $54M stadium build

See the difference? Now you know why the pro side frames their arguments the way they do.

Fund it privately is the only fair way to go