Browns get "sweetheart deal" from city - Tucson News Now

Browns get "sweetheart deal" from city

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CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Some would call this a pretty sweet deal.

The city of Cleveland will be letting the Browns use parking spaces during home games and the team will be able to turn around and charge big bucks for them.

"There must be lead in the pipes at City Hall because I think people have lost their minds here," said Cleveland councilman Mike Polensek.

Polensek is referring to a new ordinance passed this week involving parking at Browns games. The team will be leasing 1700 parking spaces west of the stadium.

450 will be free, and the Browns will pay the city a total of about $7,000 per game for the rest of the spaces, $5 per spot for some and $7.50 for the others.

But the team will be able to charge $20, $30 or $40 to fans.

"Since they drafted Johnny Football, they're selling tickets like jackrabbits in heat," Polensek said. "And now they gotta control all the parking as well. They pay no property taxes.  They pay virtually no rent. They make all the money off the stadium.  We're paying...the public's paying for their new scoreboards.  When is enough enough?"

Cleveland City Council overwhelming approved the ordinance. Polensek opposed it.  His colleague Zack Reed supported it.

Reed says by law, the city has to give the Browns a certain amount of parking spaces.

"I would agree with most of my colleagues that voted against it," Reed said. "It is a sweetheart deal for the Cleveland Browns.  So what we've basically said for a compromise for those of us who felt it was a sweetheart deal in the first year, you can move forward to make it happen this year, but next year we're hoping that you will negotiate a better deal so that we can make some more money off of these parking spaces."

The city says the spaces in question are no longer needed for public use. Still, Councilman Polensek said he thinks the city is giving them away.

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