Mayor has OK to issue bonds if no partners found

WASHINGTON -- Private investors have until Jan. 17 to submit proposals to assist financing Washington's new ballpark under a process started Thursday by the city's chief financial officer.

Legislation approved Tuesday by the District of Columbia Council contemplates that at least half of the stadium construction cost come from a private source.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed a letter to the council stating he would include private financing in the stadium package but the legislation allows the city to revert to publicly financed bonds if private financing falls through.

The process gives investors nearly four weeks to submit proposals along with nonrefundable $10,000 deposits.

"The CFO arranged the fee to offset the cost of the financial
experts that will be needed to help vet the proposals," said
Sharon Gang, a spokeswoman for the mayor.

Funding proposals must significantly reduce the city's cost for
the ballpark and explain how the plan would benefit the city and
the investor. But they cannot be based on revenue such as stadium
naming rights -- they are owned by the team, which will be renamed
the Nationals.

The CFO's office is required to finish evaluating the proposals
by March 15.

Legislation allows the city to sell up to $584 million in bonds
for the project.

Council Chair Linda W. Cropp demanded private financing to help
reduce the city's risk and cost on the project.