CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Bengals will not renegotiate a lease at Paul Brown Stadium, despite an outcry from county leaders who say the lease is a bad deal for taxpayers and hurts the city's ability to develop the rest of its riverfront property.
The latest dispute in a 10-year fight is who should pay for artificial turf installed in 2004. The Bengals recently invoked a provision in the lease that they say requires Hamilton County to reimburse the team $900,000.
The lease also gives the Bengals veto power over building heights for a mix of condos, offices and restaurants that are being proposed to fill the four-block gap between the stadium and Great American Ball Park, home to baseball's Cincinnati Reds.
Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune said the lease is littered with other unfair provisions. Taxpayers will begin reimbursing the team $29 million in expenses during the last nine years of the lease, starting in 2018.
The lease also gives the Bengals all revenue from concessions and merchandise during non-game events, such as concerts.
The Bengals need to be a good corporate citizen and renegotiate the lease, said Portune, who was not part of the three-member county commission that approved the deal in 1997.
Bengals Vice President Troy Blackburn said it's a shame that the lease has caused so much conflict, but the team is not interested in reworking the deal. He said the lease has been fair to everyone.