PawSox to meet with city officials; critics call for Gov. to veto bill

By Alana Cerrone

acerrone@abc6.com

@Alana_Cerrone

PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – Days after lawmakers passed the PawSox bill, the team will only say, “The PawSox immediately began to study the enabling legislation when we received it late Friday morning.  The club and the City of Pawtucket will meet promptly to begin the discussion of its contents.”

Governor Gina Raimondo echoed a familiar sentiment Monday, saying, “I’d like the PawSox to stay in Pawtucket and if we can do it in a way that protects the taxpayers I’d be all for it."

She says she hasn’t gone through the newly-revised deal yet, but her opponents in the upcoming gubernatorial race have already made up their minds – they want her to veto it.

Critics of the deal say despite the new protections, taxpayers could still end up on the hook if the team defaults.

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung would rather see the owners pay for the stadium, and the state finance better infrastructure around it. "That’s something that government, whether it’s at the state or local level, should be doing, not necessarily putting our hard-earned tax dollars behind millionaires and billionaires."

Representative Patricia Morgan questioned why PawSox owners can’t afford to fund the project out of pocket. "They could each write a check out of their checkbook and cover the cost of this stadium."

Instead, she says, the deal could have taxpayers repaying what she calls junk bonds.

"We will be paying more in interest than we will to build this stadium.”

Gubernatorial candidate Matt Brown is laying blame on Raimondo for what he calls a botched negotiation, and warns that the deal could create bad blood with small businesses.

"They’re breaking their backs to run their businesses, and they see handpicked corporations get taxpayer handouts? It’s not the right way to build the economy.”

The Governor says she and Commerce Secretary Stefan Pryor will be reaching out to the PawSox to see if it’s something they can work with. Meanwhile, the city of Worcester declined comment once again on their negotiations with the team.

©WLNE-TV 2018