Las Vegas Sun

August 19, 2018

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What’s missing from Raiders meeting agenda as important as what’s there

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Courtesy of MANICA Architecture

A look at the planned $1.8 billion domed football stadium for the Oakland Raiders and UNLV football in Las Vegas.

Raiders proposed Las Vegas stadium

A look at the proposed $1.9 billion domed football stadium for the Oakland Raiders and UNLV football in Las Vegas. Launch slideshow »

The two trickiest agreements left for the Las Vegas Stadium Authority to negotiate before the Raiders break ground later this year do not appear on Thursday’s board meeting agenda.

Neither the UNLV joint-use agreement nor the community benefits agreement appear on a lengthy schedule for the board’s first gathering since mid-July. The UNLV document merited a brief status update at that last Stadium Authority board meeting, while public comment on the community benefits agreement stretched more than an hour after more than 1,000 job seekers were duped into showing up to the meeting looking for a non-existent job fair.

UNLV and the Raiders must agree on how they will share the 65,000-seat stadium as required by Senate Bill 1, the public funding legislation approved last fall that authorizes $750 million in tax money for the $1.9 billion stadium. The Sun reported last month that the Raiders want UNLV to help alleviate their dire stadium parking situation by allowing the team to use more than 7,000 university parking spaces for game days and other major events.

The Raiders also sought control of luxury suite and club seat sales for Rebels football games. The team wanted to package UNLV games with its own, then reimburse the university for suite sales at the price of a club seat.

After receiving the Raiders initial proposal, UNLV officials responded by hiring powerful New York-based sports law firm Herrick and one of their top attorney, Daniel Etna, at a cost of up to $745 per hour. Negotiations between the Raiders and UNLV continue, but have not progressed to the point of coming back before the board.

The community benefits agreement appears farther behind schedule. State Sen.Aaron Ford — the state legislative point man on the issue — said earlier this month that he continues to discuss the agreement with Raiders officials, but board chairman Steve Hill does not anticipate significant movement on that document at the moment. Within the requirements of that agreement is language mandating the creation of a committee to oversee its implementation. That committee has not yet been formed.

Hill said last week he expects both topics to return for the Sept.14 meeting. Two self-imposed deadlines create pressure on the Raiders, UNLV and the stadium authority if that timeline holds.

Hill identified October as the latest point at which the board could approve any of the dozen documents required by law. While that deadline likely contains a modicum of flexibility, the 31-month stadium construction contains little room for delays to be ready for the first Raiders game in August 2020.

The board approved in May the Raiders 30-year lease vfor the stadium and it will receive status updates on the personal seat license agreement and another procedural agreement at Thursday’s meeting.

The second deadline appears in Hill’s commitment to board members earlier this year that he would not ask them to vote on any document they did not have an opportunity to review well before it appears on an agenda. That means any agreement will need to be finished well in advance of the meeting where it receives a vote.

The board will hear a stadium status check from Raiders officials at the meeting, as well as a presentation from Bank of America representatives on stadium financing. Bank of America agreed in February to lend $650 million toward stadium construction to the Raiders after local casino magnate Sheldon Adelson withdrew his financial commitment to the project days earlier.

Bank officials consistently decline requests to discuss the stadium, so Thursday will provide a rare look at their involvement.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. Thursday and can be streamed through the stadium authority website.