‘Too much foot-dragging’ over stadium lease deal with Baltimore Orioles, Maryland official says


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland official on a powerful state board said Wednesday there’s “too much foot-dragging” between the Maryland Stadium Authority and the Baltimore Orioles to renew the team’s lease at Camden Yards, and he urged the parties to “get this damn thing done.”

Treasurer Dereck Davis, who is one of three members of the Maryland Board of Public Works, expressed his concerns at the end of a board meeting. The treasurer pointed out that negotiations between the state and the team aren’t over something as involved as building a new stadium, and he questioned what’s taking so long.

“If there’s something going on, we need to know,” Davis said. “There’s too much foot-dragging on this, and what I’ve learned in 30 years is the longer nothing’s been said, the longer it takes. I’m saying this for the explicit purpose so it gets out there, and folks have to start answering what’s taking so long.”

The baseball team’s lease is set to expire at the end of the year, but Orioles chairman John Angelos emphatically told reporters in January that the team will not leave Baltimore.

Last week, Angelos and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore, who is also on the board, released a joint statement saying there’s been progress on their vision to expand the Camden Yards campus.

However, the parties failed to reach a renewal by the end of last week’s MLB All-Star break. Angelos had said at spring training he had hoped to reach an agreement by then.

“We’ve laid the groundwork for success, and progress is also being made on our vision to expand and revitalize the Camden Yards campus,” the joint statement said. “We are determined to make it happen, and soon.”

Asked for comment Wednesday, a spokesperson for Angelos referred back to last week’s statement.

The stadium authority also referred to last week’s statement.

“Governor Moore is committed to working in partnership with the Baltimore Orioles to finalize an agreement and bring it before the Board of Public Works for approval as quickly as possible,” Craig Thompson, the stadium authority’s chair, added in a statement Wednesday.

Larry Hogan, Maryland’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“A significant investment has been made on behalf of the state, and I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault, because I honestly don’t know, but it’s time,” Davis said. “It’s time, and folks need to be called out on it.”

Moore, who was sitting next to Davis at the meeting, smiled during the treasurer’s comments but did not make any comments.

Davis said he was hoping to apply pressure and get a resolution that the board could vote on by its next meeting in two weeks, though he conceded it likely wouldn’t happen that soon.

“I know we aren’t, but it’s time we start putting timelines out there and say: ‘Get this damn thing done.’ They owe it to the state, the taxpayers, and this foot-dragging has got to stop,” Davis said.

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