Las Vegas Sun

April 21, 2018

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Deadlines again creep up on Raiders, stadium authority to finish project documents

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Copyright 2017 LV Stadium Company, LLC

Rendering of the proposed Las Vegas Raiders Stadium.

You win some, you lose some and sometimes the whole game changes before either happens.

The community benefits plan discussions over the past month between the Raiders and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority fall into the final category. The stickiest remaining point — whether to include specific goals for hiring businesses owned by minorities and women to work on the $1.9 billion stadium project — smoothed out when the sides agreed that a lack of available data would make such numbers impossible.

Despite that progress, the plan will not come up for board ratification at Thursday’s meeting, the final gathering of the group in 2017. Most of the outstanding agreements involving the board and the Raiders need to be wrapped up by February 2018, which already is an extended deadline from October. None will be voted on Thursday.

Authority board chairman Steve Hill said at the group’s November meeting that he strongly preferred numeric goals related to the Raiders commitment. Hill said Tuesday that not knowing exactly how many such businesses exist in Southern Nevada and what their capabilities are will prevent that from happening.

“It’s difficult to determine what the community’s capacity is,” Hill said. “Some communities have done studies of that, not necessarily in conjunction with a stadium.

“That information is spotty here, which makes it difficult to do. The Raiders certainly are committed to inclusion, but knowing specifically what that percentage would be is very difficult.”

Hill said the Raiders will strengthen the transparency and reporting sections of the benefits plan to provide more information about their inclusion work in hiring minority- and women-owned businesses.

While the Raiders legally do not need formal approval of the benefits plan from the authority, team representatives prefer to have the blessing of the government body overseeing Nevada’s $750 million taxpayer investment in the stadium. In fact, the state law that infuses that money provides that authority little bargaining power in most cases.

“What we plan to do at this meeting is present to the board that progress that has been made and hopefully between now and the time we get to the board meeting, we can get to the point where those of us who’ve been working on it can feel like it’s in a complete, acceptable form,” Hill said.

When members of the Las Vegas Stadium Authority board last month asked the team to include specific goals for hiring businesses owned by minorities and women, Raiders representatives balked. They felt the inclusion in the law of a requirement to subcontract 15 percent of stadium work to small local businesses, and their offer to set minority/women workforce hiring goals of 38 percent of total work hours in constructing the stadium and 55 percent of total work hours in operating it, satisfied the intent of Senate Bill 1.

“That document does not contain a single hiring target, does not contain a single numerical metric, does not contain a minority hiring target,” Raiders Executive Vice President Dan Ventrelle said of SB1 at the November board meeting.

The board also will receive a status update on the UNLV joint-use agreement, on which discussions continue in secret between the Raiders and a high-priced university negotiating team including two outside law firms.

“What I understand is really solid progress has been made, and we’ll hear from them on Thursday,” Hill said.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. at the Foundations Building on the UNLV campus.