Taxing Question

Law allows tourism authority to tap $1 billion for stadium construction

However, if the sharp drop-off in tourism in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks continues, the TSA will face significant spending constraints.

"We can't take it a second year in a row," Ferris says.

The TSA already has spent more than $13 million on the stadium project and has yet to break ground. Most of the money has gone to Hunt Construction Company under an interim contract. As of September 10, Hunt had been paid $4.2 million and is owed another $3 million for preliminary design work on the stadium.

TSA president Ted Ferris
TSA president Ted Ferris

Legal fees are also eating up a large portion of TSA's budget. TSA has paid its attorneys at the Phoenix law firm of Fennemore Craig more than $1 million and owes the firm another $1.4 million.

TSA is also racking up unexpected consulting expenses related to the FAA controversy. The authority owes its private consultant Friedlob Sanderson Paulson & Tourtillott, a Denver law firm, more than $225,000.

The authority is also out more than $656,000 it spent to clean up asbestos and other material at the old Tempe site. TSA treasurer Williams says that money should be repaid by Tempe, which is responsible for preparing the land for the stadium.

"All those funds expended at the first site, no matter what it is, must come back to TSA from the Cardinals or Tempe," Williams says.

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