GUEST BLOGGER MALCOLM BROWNE WANTS AN AUDIT OF THE SPORTS AUTHORITY!

IS THE HARRIS COUNTY HOUSTON SPORTS AUTHORITY COSTING MORE THAN IT’S WORTH – MALCOLM WEIGHS IN!

A town hall meeting was held last week given by the, “Cherry Tree Republican Party”. The meeting was attended by approximately 10 municipal judges to include Harris County Judge, Ed Emmet. He was asked if he would pledge to do an audit of the Houston/Harris County Sports Authority and report the findings. Judge Emmet pledged to do so and added that he was looking into the feasibility of outsourcing the management of the Houston/Harris County Sports Authority. Judge Emmet explained that he would not commit County money to the proposed soccer stadium but would consider sourcing part of the Hotel/Motel taxes currently used to pay off bonds floated for the construction of the three current sports stadiums. Ironically, the Houston/Harris County Sports Authority has insufficient financial revenues and have had to borrow money from the Harris County Toll Road Authority recently as reported by one of the news stations. The Toll Road Authority is in an “unsecured” lien position and risk losing their money. In past years, debt on bonds used to finance the stadiums construction had been refinanced allowing a lower interest rate, thereby, in theory, saving huge amounts of money. There is one catch: The Sports Authority has continued to add debt from unpaid principal owed on its bonds even though there is a State statutory limit on the amount of debt that the Authority can incur. The Sports Authority could be considered out of compliance and possibly risk losing its tax exempt status on the debt (bonds) issued to finance the Stadiums. The Toyota Parking Garage is a whole new can of worms. Another discussion will reveal a loan made on the Parking Garage without City Council approval which is against City Ordinance. Now I understand, the Mayor is looking to sell the Garage. Who ever said that the Sports Authority won’t cost the tax payers anything should eat their words!