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February 23, 2019

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Report: Goldman Sachs balks at putting up Las Vegas stadium money

Raiders Stadium Rendering

Courtesy of MANICA Architechture

An artist’s illustration of a stadium on Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard was revealed during a Southern Nevada Tourism Infrastructure Committee meeting at UNLV Thursday, Aug. 25, 2016.

Updated Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017 | 4:17 p.m.

Many in Las Vegas sensed the Oakland Raiders relocating here was too good to be true. They may be right.

ESPN reported this morning that Goldman Sachs is balking at providing funding in place of Sheldon Adelson, who on Monday withdrew his $650 million pledge for a stadium project to bring the Raiders to town.

KVVU Channel 5 in Las Vegas is reporting that Goldman Sachs had a deal to help finance the stadium with Adelson and the Raiders. With no Adelson, there is no deal, a Goldman Sachs representative told FOX5.

The Los Angeles Times, citing a person with direct knowledge of the proposed deal, also reported that the Goldman Sachs financing was contingent on Adelson's involvement.

“If [Adelson] doesn’t think it will pencil out for him, it won’t pencil out for Goldman Sachs or anybody else that thinks they want to step up to it,” Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani told the San Jose Mercury News. “I hate to say it, some of my concerns are starting to bear out. I don’t think Mr. Davis cared about either community, ours or Oakland. He’s using us against each other.”

ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reported this morning that Goldman Sachs, the stadium board’s backup plan if the Raiders and Adelson couldn’t agree to terms, was re-evaluating the proposed deal.

Shelburne reports Adelson has a lengthy business relationship with Goldman Sachs, and the investment firm could be underwhelmed with the lease terms the Raiders are seeking.

The Raiders would lease the stadium for $1 annually and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority would be on the hook for upgrades — two demands that surprised Adelson.

“The Oakland Raiders came before the Las Vegas Stadium Authority last week with a proposed lease agreement that has sent shockwaves through our community,” a statement from the Adelson family said. “It was certainly shocking to the Adelson family. We were not only excluded from the proposed agreement; we weren’t even aware of its existence.”

Adelson played an instrumental role in the effort to lure the Raiders, which eventually grew into a $750 million commitment of taxpayer money for the deal.

Despite the significant hiccup, Raiders owner Mark Davis reiterated his desire to move to Las Vegas.

“The Raiders deeply appreciate the efforts of the Adelson family to bring the Raiders to Las Vegas. We know this project could not have advanced to this point without them. The Raiders remain steadfast in honoring Mark Davis’ commitment to Governor Sandoval and the state of Nevada to pursue relocation to Las Vegas,” the team said in a statement.

To make the move, though, Sandoval’s office said, that Raiders would need to pony up $1.15 billion — their share and Adelson’s share in the initial proposal. The state agreed in a special session to provide $750 million from an increase in the hotel room tax. A smaller version of the facility could still be built to house UNLV football.

State Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford said many lawmakers supported bringing the Raiders to Las Vegas "because we were guaranteed that our community would benefit in the form of new jobs and investments in neighborhoods that need it most. We expect that the community benefits plan announced in October will be honored in any new financing negotiations."

“If progress is not made towards financing the stadium project in a timely fashion, we will introduce legislation in the Senate to create the jobs that we were promised and contemplated by stadium construction," Ford said. "Our legislation will not affect the LVCVA expansion or UNLV's ability to pursue its own stadium project. It will, however, allocate the remaining revenue to create an infrastructure bank to fund construction projects in Southern Nevada. Nevadans should get the benefits they were promised from this deal.”

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