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Most interested parties following either SaveTheCrew happenings in Columbus, or the negotiations between MLS/PSV and Austin, are focused on Thursday, June 28. That is when the Austin City Council will consider two items, which I’ll list below.
The first one is item 60:
This resolution essentially allows any prospective developer to submit plans to develop McKalla Place, which is where MLS/PSV would like to build their stadium. Next up is item 64/130 (it has been converted to 130, as some language was added/clarified).
This is pretty self-explanatory, as it allows the City and PSV/MLS to enter into negotiations over the PSV/MLS proposal that was released earlier this month. This is a necessary step to secure an agreement, which would allow PSV to move to Austin for the 2019 season, setting aside the Modell lawsuit for the purposes of this discussion. Just today, the Council had a fairly lengthy working group to discuss the matter.
Safe to say, PSV/MLS are not happy with item 60. Their lobbyist has said that passing item 60 would kill the MLS2ATX move…entirely. Whether that is alarmist lobbyist-speak, who knows. In any case, Thursday promises to be a long, long day/night. This may not come to a resolution until well after hours on Thursday, possibly into the morning Friday. So buckle in.
There is another date coming fast on the calendar: July 15, 2018. That is the date, per Texas requirements, that politicians must file the financial disclosure documents. This obviously includes donations from lobbyists/individuals/corporations. Lobbyists like PSV’s Richard Suttle, who has previously donated (nominal) money to Austin politicians.
Now, $25 is less than nothing in the scope of political contributions (heck, I’ve contributed more than that to politicians), but that donation only covers the time period up until the end of December 2017. I’m hearing some interesting things involving donations by parties to this matter since January of this year. I’ve submitted questions to several members of the Council, but have not heard back as of the time this was published. I’ve received some other information, but as I have not been able to fully confirm, I am refraining from naming any specific parties involved, for now.
Unfortunately if you’re a SaveTheCrew proponent, this information won’t come out (through government channels) until well after the vote on the 28th. However, assuming that an agreement isn’t reached with PSV/MLS on that date, there should be a vote in the event that Austin and PSV/MLS are able to come to terms. That vote will likely be pretty close to election time, probably in late-August/early September, which is typically when politicians running for (re) election get skittish about taking controversial votes. I don’t confess to know the intricacies of Austin politics, so the extent to which news regarding large political donations by parties in a position to benefit from a vote will cause problems for politicians, I cannot say.
In any case, be on the lookout for those financial disclosures in July, as they could prove very enlightening.