Arne Carlson, Minnesota Governor; talks about charges his administration was improperly involved in the threat to move the Twins and gain a new ballpark. We also talk to Twins President Jerry Bell.
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(00:00:10) Good morning, and welcome to midday in Minnesota Public Radio. I'm Gary eichten glad you could join us Stadium games has stirred up a hornet's nest the book history of Minnesota's efforts to build stadiums and arenas for Minnesota's pro sports teams written by Jay weiner long time Star Tribune reporter and occasional MPR commentator was making the rounds of the Minnesota Legislature yesterday with several legislators saying they were upset and appalled at what they read in the book specifically. They said they are angry over charges contained in the book that in 1997 the Carlson Administration essentially ordered the Minnesota Twins to find an out-of-state buyer for the team the goal according to the book was to bring a long-running stadium debate to ahead create a crisis and essentially forced the legislature to make a choice Bill the Minnesota Twins a new baseball stadium or lose the team while the twins did reach a tentative sale agreement legislators and the public were then told that the twin I would leave if no Stadium agreement was reached Governor Arne Carlson did call a special legislative session in the fall of 1997 to address the issue, but the legislature refused to build a new stadium the drop-dead date came and went and the twins stayed put as we said some legislators are now saying they are upset with the report how speaker Steve swinging for example is quoted as saying I'm very appalled when you go out and create crises to get a public policy change. It's a pretty dishonorable tactic to create a crisis, but Governor Arne Carlson says, he did not pressure the twins into concocting a phony sales deal to force the issue yesterday. We talked with Jay weiner about his book today. The governor has joined us here in the studio to tell his side of the story to take your questions, and we invite you to join our conversation. Give us a call here at 6512276 thousand 6512276 thousand outside the Twin Cities one eight hundred two, four two two eight 286512276 thousand or For to 2828 Governor. Thanks for coming in today. Well delighted this all gets pretty convoluted it does but really at the heart of the issue is what appears to be a fairly serious charge that you or your Administration created this this crisis to try to change public policy. Yeah, is that is that what happened? Well, first of all, I think I think it has to be stated that there's no allegation that I pressured the twins to do anything. It revolves around comments that Bernie Omen allegedly made in an interview with the writer of the book. That's what it gets down to and what Jay weiner is saying and this interview was about a year and a half ago is that Bernie Omen acknowledged? Not that he just pressured the twins, but the word that keeps coming out in the media is the word phony And the implication is clear and that is that not only was there to be a phony crisis, but there was to be a phony contract now. I was in California yesterday in the business trip and the calls. I got a couple of reporters said that as far as they understood J weiner was alleging that the contract was phony and fraudulent and I said that's an awfully serious charge and if that's true, then it raises interesting questions why a year and a half ago when Jay weiner knew about it. He didn't report this to the authorities well, and why did he let the people of st. Paul know about this because a referendum was pending etcetera, but apparently other reporters have said, well, he doesn't quite say that he doesn't suggest that the contract is is fraudulent but He suggests the events leading up to it or fraudulent but there's no description as to what those events are. What was it precisely that was And hmm. Well, I think at the heart of the issue having read the book having talked yesterday with Jay wiener. And and so on at the heart of the issue is is again as you say the kind of the the events that that occurred leading up to the agreement ultimately that was reached between the Twins and Don Beaver rice fella down in North Carolina, and he in the excerpt that was reprinted in the Star Tribune yesterday. He writes J weiner rights asked if he had personally recommended to pull a dead bee Carl pull a door, Jerry Bell twins president that a contrived deal and deadlines be established Carlson Arne Carlson said that that's entirely possible. There was a lot of pressure. There was General agreement across the board that we did need the date, but I wondered this would be J weiner again. Is it proper for elected officials to urge a private businessman to set a deadline? Triggers a special legislative session that paralyzes the state isn't that wrong? No, Carlson said you're into at this point a protracted and very difficult political debate. You need to do everything. You possibly can to put yourself in an advantageous position to win. No, this isn't any form of collusion. Well whose words are the word contrived there J wieners. So the this is what Jay weiner does throughout that one chapter that I did read. And that is he keeps adding his interpretation to these interviews. Those are his interpretations. They're clearly not mine. I had a staff member present to that interview and he has no recollection of any such question being asked nor to why I'm not going to sit there and say, oh yes, I participated in a in a in a contrived deal give me credit for a little higher IQ than that. Did you put the arm on the twins though and essentially say to him precisely what we did we have to have a deal here if we're going to get this past years precisely what we did we call their Bluff for two years. Now, the twins had been telling the people of Minnesota that if we don't get a stadium we're going to be forced to sell or we're going to be forced to leave that was the testimony in the legislature during the legislative session in 1997. That wasn't contrived if it was contrived it fooled everybody it fooled your station. Hold your reporters. It will the rest of now let me just finish Gary. None of that was contrived and all we did because I didn't want this thing to continue it lost in the session of 1997. I had already decided that we're going to have a special session to service the Northwest area of Minnesota on the floods. We were going to also deal with the Marvin window question which was which was entering into a serious economic crisis and we're going to have a separate special session on education reform education reform as you well know was my pet project that's where I wanted my passions my energies 100% to be dedicated. The last thing I wanted on the agenda was the stadium is show again. And so all we did with the twins was called The Bluff now, what is the and the this phrase that that Jeff weiner uses is manufactured crisis. Well, that's his phrase. What's the difference Gary between a manufactured crisis and Following somebody's Bluff and that's what this is all about. He's in the business of selling a book if he had this Sensational story a year and a half ago. And as you introduced on this radio just a few minutes ago. He's reported for the Star Tribune. Why didn't he blow the whistle then? Why did he wait a year and a half? And if the answer is to promote his book then we know exactly where his principles are relative to money. No, I don't know what that has to do with this issue. Well, it has a lot to do with this issue. If he's suggesting that there was a contrivance to mislead the public. Why did he withhold this from the Star Tribune and from the public bear - start shooting always says the public has a right to know. Where was that Principle unrevealing as why was it withheld for a year and a half. Why on this show? Didn't he tell you that he withheld a free year and a half. While he explained in the course of events, I mean as but he never existed and as to when he did the interviews the fact that the Carlson Administration people as justifiably so are not going to while they're in office going to be talking about this openly but he says we did talk about it while in office openly those Lee votes as you folks were we were in office it took place in the governor's office. Why would we give quotes to him at that point and then deny him a year and a half later when out of office, it doesn't make any sense. So at any rate the to the Carlson Administration Bernie almond or whoever your administrator. Nobody said to the twins. Look if you're going to sell the team sell them get that deal done now so we can have a legislative resolution of this one way or the other. Well when you called know what we basically did what I believe Bernie Omen did was tell them look you've been telling the public that you're going to sell the team. And you want us to go into a special session after it was already defeated during the regular session. There has to be an emergency. That's how you have a special session. We had an emergency on the floods. We had an emergency on Marvin Windows and we had a crisis in education because it was no education funding bill. So if you want a special session, you tell us precisely what the emergency is. Is there a sale? That's calling a person's block. And by the way reporters were doing that constantly. Well, what's the big shock if the governor's office doesn't what do you think the Minnesota pot? How many times on a radio talk show do you think callers called in and said my gosh I'm sick and tired in 1996. We had a whole legislative election revolve around the stadium issue Jay weiner forgets about that. He says oh, well Carl polad was being subtle. I don't think a Statewide election on the stadium issue is exactly subtle the twins to that point. They'll had never said they were leaving town. They won the on the contrary Governor there is nothing on the record to that effect. Now, they certainly hinted at it and they said Lee left little to the imagination but at no point did they ever say if we don't in fact they were criticized for that by the people who were we made it very clear all the way along never make a threat that you can keep and yet you're sitting here telling us. Well, they hinted at it. They implied it they'd allowed us to believe it. Well what precisely is that? Well, they never get sick. They never did make that threat. So well, I disagree with you. I think it's a question of how you interpret what you would call and we urge a wiener calls quote the subtleties. I didn't think it was terribly subtle. I don't think the implication of both political parties and all candidates for the legislature being wrapped up in a stadium debate was exactly subtle you want MPR for heaven's sakes had John Marty here almost every half hour on the hour. I didn't think that was particularly subtle and I think I heard words like threats leaving selling it to was even speculation on who would buy it where they would go. Gary imagine how anybody can sit there with a straight face and say that Minnesota was not involved in a debate on whether or not we're going to lose the twins. I didn't say that. Okay, but I think that's important for the listener to begin to understand. No, they everybody was discussing the question will they leave because that was the premise of why you build the stadium right rat? Okay, absolutely and the stadium came in officially into the 1997 legislative session. Right? Right. And that was before Jay weiner makes these allegations, correct? So, how do we how do we create threats expert retroactively, but I don't think that's the charge Governor. It wasn't a retroactive chart retroactive threat. I think Jay we need then has an obligation to be slightly more clear as the best is I read this whole thing it gets down to one fundamental issue. And that is is the contract a fraudulent contract or is it a valid contract? I don't think he's ever charged. I don't believe I don't recall rehabbing red welts and reporters yesterday thought he was alleging that and that's how it was relayed to me. Well, I so inside your profession there's confusion. Well, I know some other reporters and fairness said no, we don't think he went that far. My point is this if in fact this was a fraudulent deal, he's got a sensational story. He's got a valid story, but if in fact that's a valid dear. There's no story at all. What then is the story again? I think the basic the reason legislator seem to be upset is that there is the charge in the book that you folks essentially push the twins over the edge here that the twins had not actually tried to sell. In fact, Jerry Bell is quoted today as saying that they had twins had really made no effort to sell the team at that point until he was caught until they were contacted by that's why I started the conversation off with calling the bluff the bluff was that they were going to leave. I talked to Jerry Bell just about an hour ago. He acknowledged that and he said the deal was not fraud in it was a valid deal but he says too many members of the media keep cutting off. They they have little segments that they allow so they cut off the response. I call Steve swing him this morning and Steve said what my comments were cut off. He said I asked that they wait until all the facts are in. Let's find out what it's all about. But that's not the news that you get because it's all cut off. Mmm, and that's why it's good to do a radio show where at least there's no opportunities that pray. There's not to cut off responses. Hmm. How about Lauren? Jenny's a Democrat? He says this never took place never and by the way, I still don't know precisely what it is. That quote took place. Well again, I think I think the fundamental charge is that after the and the 1997 regular legislative session and after the legislature had said no, we're not going to build a stadium great go away and the twins were still arguing that well something needs to be done here that that you folks went to the Twins and said get a sales deal. If you're going to sell the team sell it get a real deal and then give us a date and then we'll go back and try this one more time. Okay. I'll try it again to you. Not in that we called the bluff the bluff was that if you don't build a stadium will have to leave we said perform. Sell the team. No, we didn't tell myself that we were fighting to keep the team for heaven's sakes. We had lost Major League Hockey. That was a big blow to Minnesota. Hmm. I did everything I could to save the Timberwolves and we finally were able to keep them even after a deal was made for them to be sold to New Orleans We rescued that got him back there safely ensconced in Minnesota. We didn't want to lose the twins we want to do everything we could to keep the twins here. Why in the world would my chief of staff run to the Twins and say we want you to sell to some out-of-state seller to force the legislature to pass this bill for heaven's sakes. When you take that kind of of first of all, you got two problems with that statement one is you've just taken a bipartisan beating on the bill. Anyway with by the way your best proposal. So the chances of passing something with a weaker proposal will fairly remote there were some people enthusiastic about the gambling prospects etcetera, but as you know, the votes were not there to is I did not want it in I was losing political Capital not winning what was in it for me trying to save the twins because you really did want to save the twist hate. That's right, but we gave it every shot that we had when I interviewed a wiener. I got the very distinct impression that he didn't think I had done enough to save the twins. So he was apparently working on a slightly different angle at that point but to save the twins because that's what you did want to do that as a state resource. So why would I want them to be sold to an out-of-state owner to force the legislature into could because only doesn't make sense because all we heard during the regular last name brings us into a special session for the twins, which I did not want. My heart my passion was an education reform and Gary you of all people should know that I was campaigning full-time for Education reform all of our efforts were in education reform. The last thing we wanted was to have the interference of the stadium issue that was an issue the media loved if you want to get coverage. So the way for any elected official to get coverage automatically was to mention the magic word twin Stadium. Hmm. And all I wanted to do was to have it effectively dealt with in the session it was And then we were asked would you consider a special session and all we wanted to know is what is the emergency just as we wanted to know? What's the emergency on floods? What's the emergency on Marvin Windows? What's the emergency on education? That's what special sessions are for but there's an implication here all we must have been fraudulent. The only way it could have been fraudulent if there was a fraudulent contract and I challenge you to find anybody to suggest it was a fraudulent contract. The implication has been flying around the last 24 hours. Let's set aside the word fraudulent and I said and phony. If the twin well, and I really hate to get continually get bogged down on this because there's a lot of more item. Well, that didn't go into some other things. Well, I think we made our point on this. Okay. So it just one more time. You folks did not put the arm on the Twins and say go get a go find somebody to buy your team Gary. Let's be clear you don't put the arm on a multi-billionaire. You don't put an arm on an organization that has it a vast array of attorneys. You don't get involved in anything like that. So if you folks didn't do that, absolutely not what what Bernie Omen did was simply call their Bluff. Perform or get off and and stop this and and and bear might were J. We know goes wrong. He lays the groundwork and says well everything that that poll had said was subtle and blah blah blah. How did I get wrapped up in the 1996 legislative races and we had nothing to do with that. Absolutely nothing. How did it get wrapped up in Norm Coleman's campaign to build a stadium here in st. Paul. We had nothing to do with that. That was an issue that would never go away. It kept dominating legislative sessions. Mmm. And so we wanted to make it clear that under no circumstances. Was it going to be in into the 1998 and and to there was no emergency that warranted a special session when the deal with whatever it was in North Carolina was made that was subject to her to a referendum that did constitute a valid reason for the let legislature to come back and give it consideration and they did and they discharged it. Mmm and on a bipartisan basis. Nobody could find anything wrong. But what you have here, I mean, let's face it. Jay weiner wants to sell a book. And what better way to sell a book than to find some well-known public figure and suggests that he's involved in something slightly untoward but by the way, ill-defined has he told you with any degree of certainty of this was a fraudulent contract. No, no, no. No, there's no charge of a fraudulent contract that I read in the but yet on the radio. He used words, like unindicted co-conspirator. That's a that's a highly legal term and very suggestive of a criminal act isn't it having to do that doesn't have to do with the contract. Actually that's a girl outgrowth of the the charge that Major League Baseball essentially was manipulating us to force the legislature here to build them build a stadium for the twins. All right, I'm not going to get into that. I think the point is I think he uses language that's designed to be inflammatory and prejudicial in order to be able to sell his book The Phrase manufactured crisis. And I just talked to Jerry about an hour or so ago that came from Jay leaner. That did not come from Bernie Omen. That's an important point. Bernie Omen sincerely feels that all he did was try to call their Bluff. Now you tell me what's the difference between calling the bluff and in J weiners words manufacturing a crisis? And that's what you've got. If you if if he had a fraudulent contract. It's got a great story if he is a valid contract. I don't see the story. I really don't and I think what's sad about it is and it's another topic we can deal with other times. Everybody I talked to complained that their comments were cut off by the media every single one. Steve swinging said they were cut off. I know I was cut off Jerry Bell was cut off. Bernie only was cut off and that's not fair. I think this Fraternal Order can sort of cease and if you and it was the name of the game ought to be to give the public the full truth. Not just a partial truth. Not just little tidbits, but the full truth and every time the jury belt right explained that the full thing Bingo it's got off. That's not fair. That isn't fair. Got a caller on the line. Well, we had a caller on the line. I guess he went away and I know we want to get to get to some other things. Let me let me just before we break the by the way, there's another book out and this is our book. This is written by Mary shot her. She went through the whole stadium deal and she had no such conclusion at all. Absolutely none. Mmm, and She interviewed all the same people. Rob your question for the governor (00:22:41) Place. Hi, thanks for taking my call. I think the difference is the intent. I mean, I don't think that the the governor wanted the governor was like in encouraging the twins to sort of fake that they were going to be moved. It wasn't the twins idea. And these were the governor clearly wanted a stadium to be built. So I think that's the difference. Can (00:23:08) you clarify just a little bit more Rob? What what your point here is (00:23:13) well, I don't think that the twins really it was according to the wiener story that I read in the paper. It wasn't the twins idea to like move or to like push this idea of themselves moving and that accordingly it was the governor and his staffs idea that they should like fake up these these buyers even though they turned out to be real but they should encourage them to do this for publicity campaign. (00:23:38) I understand what the question is. He suggesting that that Jay weiner the is interpretation is (00:23:42) true. Yeah, I (00:23:46) just better know. I just spent the last 20 minutes outlining to you is that it is not true. It is exactly the opposite of truth. You're basically suggesting that the testimony the twins met before the legislature was untrue, but they never did in that testimony say they were going to leave town if they didn't get a stadium. Well, you keep calling everything very very subtle, but you acknowledge and that they did imply they were leaving. Well right reward pulls the Star Tribune ran polls on them leaving. They certainly bought into it. They wrote editorials. So apparently an awful lot of people thought they were leaving I seem to recall the sit Hartman getting into a strong debates with this device Wiggum and I talked to sway him this morning. His memory was the same and it was about the twins leaving. I mean, I don't know where you suddenly get this notion. That we invented the story that the twins were leaving. This was part of the 1996 campaign not isn't that I didn't say you invented any stories well, but he says fake up. I wrote down his quote. I mean and I think that that's where people have to stop. That's a pretty serious charge. You know me. Well enough to know that that I'm not exactly subtle and I don't have hidden agendas, you know, that's both my strength and my weakness you think Jay weiner is a liar. I don't think it's a liar. I think he wanted to write a book with a slant and he wrote a book with the slammed and he's trying to settle it as sell it and he's on every radio station. It's amazing how many radio stations he's a appeared on and he's trying to sell the book. There's another book out. Take your victories as they come. Admittedly hired by us. But we're no more biased and Jay weiner is and the writers of that story when thoroughly through the whole thing on the stadium and they came to exactly the opposite conclusion. They thought everything was up front. We dealt with it. Honestly, we lost on the issue and that was it. But Jay weiner is not prepared to say that the contract was fraudulent. I don't understand what the story is is the story that we told them to to put together a fraudulent contract. No, no that you know again the charge in the book is that he essentially told the twins if you want this resolved, you got to go find a buyer and and as a consequence says he told the twins basically put up shut up call the bluff call it what you will that's all it's got some news headlines Governor Arne former Governor Arne Carlson is our guest this hour and he's come by today to talk about some charges that are contained in a book called Stadium games written by Jay weiner. He would Jay was on the show yesterday Governor Carlson joined us today. And if you'd like to join our conversation here, give us a call six five one two, two seven six thousand or 1-800 to four two two eight two eight gets some news headlines here in just a couple minutes. Today's programming is supported by listeners who have helped secure Minnesota public radio's future by including MPR in there. Will's Austin Texas seems to have it all a small artsy Town that's turned into a high-tech Haven. So what's there to worry (00:26:53) about now? The challenge is to try and keep those quality lifestyle factors into the next decade as the city continues to grow. I'm Juan Williams join us for a (00:27:02) live broadcast from Austin Texas part of our changing face of America series next Talk of the Nation from NPR (00:27:09) news. (00:27:14) Talk to the nation is on the air at one o'clock over the noon hour today in between will go off to the National Press Club. Speech today by national public radio president Kevin close. Now, finally Greta Cunningham joins us with some headlines. Got it. Thanks Gary. Good morning lawyers for the u.s. Relatives of alien Gonzalez are meeting again with immigration officials. The two sides met for five hours yesterday. It appears that the boy's relatives aren't involved in today's talks. Only their attorneys Cuban leader Fidel Castro says Elian Gonzalez. His father is ready to go to the US and stay for the entire court process. Cuban officials are meeting with officials from the US state department about the possibility of aliens father traveling to the US officials in Fort Worth Texas say it's going to take a lot of time and money to clean up the city's tornado damage damage estimates at are at more than 300 million dollars in the downtown area eight buildings were destroyed and more than 50 damage four people died in the storm in Regional news. Maplewood. Mayor Robert. Cardinal is the fifth Republican to get into the race to replace retiring Congressman. Bruce vento. Cardinal was elected mayor of Maplewood last year. He's a business broker with Calhoun companies of Minneapolis. 7 dfl candidates have announced they're running for vento seat vento recently announced he will not seek re-election. So he can concentrate on his cancer treatments a new report shows minnesotans are volunteering more than ever and giving substantially more of their time than the national average in the survey last fall nearly two-thirds of Minnesota adults reported doing some former volunteer work in the previous six months the report shows those volunteer efforts were worth six and a half billion dollars if calculated at the average wage for non farm work Northwest Airlines flight attendants will rally this evening at the Twin Cities international airport. They're protesting the firing of a veteran flight attendant following an alleged sick-out Diane Laporte klieman says, she was sick with sinus trouble over the holiday weekend the forecast for Minnesota today calls for Sunshine State wide high temperatures ranging from 55 degrees in the Northeast to D5 in the southwest at this hour and St Cloud, it's sunny and 50 for Rochester reports sunshine and fifty degrees and in the Twin Cities partly sunny skies a temperature of 50 to Gary. That's a look at the latest news. Thanks Greta. It's about 24 minutes before noon. This is midday coming to you in Minnesota Public Radio. And our guest this our former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson who has come by today to talk about some allegations that are contained in a book written by Jay weiner Star Tribune reporter called Stadium games charges having to do with efforts to build a new stadium for the Minnesota Twins efforts that led to a special session in 1997 Governor Carlson's come by to tell his side of the story and we've got another caller on the line with a question for governor Carlson. Hricko had Place. Hi, hi. (00:30:04) Hi notice the governor keeps going back to the contract and whether or not it was drawn up legally. I think pretty much everyone out here figures that teams of Lawyers can draw up a legal contract but I think that the point is not whether or not the contract was perfectly legal because we all know that even the governor says it's teams of lawyers. It's whether or not anyone believes that they were going to happen and neither side ever believed it was going to happen. That's why no one thinks that 14th markets share is going to go to a 37th market share any professional team and that's why Don Beaver was guaranteed $100,000 in the contract. And so I see that it was just a setup and everybody knows it was a setup, but I think it's important for politicians to come on and deny that so that to save the (00:30:51) reputation. Well now that's wonderfully. Ask a question answers it no, I think that's very very unfair first of all, of course, it's a legal contract, but that wasn't what we were discussing. What were we discussing here? Was that a legitimate contract in the sense that both parties intended to execute on the agreement we at our Attorneys go through it line by line Henry Sava cool being the key of tourney in a person of great integrity and great capacity. We determined that it was a valid agreement because you're right. There were a lot of rumors to the effect of well, would they really execute blah blah blah. It was also subject to a public referendum and the media paid a lot of attention to public opinion on that because we had tried to get a referendum here in Minnesota and the legislature denied that so, you know, I wish you would remember that and it was really the referendum that was going to decide whether or not this contract was going to be executed my understanding from the twins was that if the referendum passes the team would in fact be gone. And so I think your conclusion is is a bit off Target. Now there were legislators who did not believe that the twins would leave under that circumstances and there were other legislators who would who did believe and by the way, that's human nature and I think that's that's that that's fair. And but to come back and to suggest that that somehow there was fraudulent or you know Carlson's on this program just to save his reputation. No matter what he says he wants to save his reputation. That is not fair and frankly. It's not very honorable the world I come from is you take people at their word and unless you have reason to believe quite the contrary and so I'm answering the question is fully as I possibly can. We believe that the twins were sincere and leaving we took their comments. Seriously. We took them at face value. We sat down and negotiated Maury Anderson negotiated the first Arrangement. It was an excellent arrangement of provider for a ten-cent to pack a tax on Tobacco. Everything was above board. We work with the legislature on a bipartisan basis and it took a lot of risk for these legislators to go on the line because they knew it was not popular. I knew it was not popular at all of us were expending political. (00:33:13) Capital (00:33:13) in rest was a tremendous heroin on this as was Jennings. I mean, these are good people and we're not going to be able to attract good people into public life. If we continue to constantly put them under the suspicion of Scandal and that's precisely what Jay weiner is done. I wish Jay wiener would run for public office and find out what it's like to have have people's motives and intentions and everything else held up for for for ridicule and for did disrepute when I'm out of the political system now, but I'm telling you this I love this state and I want this day to be well governed and I think the best way for it to be well governed if it's us to make Public Service an honorable commitment and remember that reasonable intelligent and honest people will have honest differences of opinion, but all too often when it when a difference of opinion occurs. The first thing that is said, oh so-and-so is bought off for someone so is corrupt and that Misses it and that doesn't allow us to society to engage in a thoughtful discussion. Jerry Bell who's president of the twins is on the line now, good morning. Mr. Bell, very good. The Carlson Administration essentially forced the twins to go out and find a buyer for the team. (00:34:31) I think the Carlson Administration suggested that we make a decision. They strongly suggested that we make a decision on this issue it it was going to be discussed in the special session of the legislature and our knees are with you he can correct me if I don't remember things right, but I believe they wanted it to end this debate at public debate had gone on for several years and it was taking a lot of the legislators time and obviously it's an important issue particularly to us, but it is not the most important issue facing the state of Minnesota never has been and consuming a great deal of legislative time and effort. So a decision needed to be made and in order to make that decision One needed to also fully understand what could happen if if the if the stadium was not approved We believe We Still Believe today that in order to properly operate a major league baseball franchise. Not only do you want to stay in your home Community, but you also need to be competitive people want baseball, but they want competitive baseball. We take polls all the time and it shows that every single time. Yes, they want the twins to stay here. But they want the team to be competitive in order to be competitive in the industry today. You need to have all of the tools that other teams that you're competing with have one of those happens to be a ballpark that is fan friendly and generates the revenues that you need to be competitive in the industry. So that's why we felt without the competitiveness provided by a new ballpark staying in It was highly (00:36:19) unlikely. Did you make any effort to find a buyer for the team and out-of-state buyer for the team prior to the contacts that you had with the Carlsen admit? (00:36:28) We didn't have to make an effort Gary. There were a number of people that had contacted mr. Pollard because obviously they knew that we were in a difficult situation here in Minnesota and call them vultures call them whatever you like. They wanted to buy the team because they thought they could get it at a bargain rate and you rebuff them though. We did not point we did not follow up on those. We knew that we had them available if we wanted to but we hadn't followed up with them at that point, but we thought at some point we would have to (00:37:00) mr. Bell was the and I want to be careful how I phrase this now because we've gotten hung up on the word fraudulent. I'm not going to use that word. (00:37:08) Hey was used phony and that's the part that disturbs me the (00:37:11) most bet was the sale of the team to Don Beaver down in North Carolina. What reasonable (00:37:18) People would (00:37:18) call a real deal that is to say in your heart of hearts. Did you have the sense that the deal was probably going to go through if the legislature didn't build the stadium. (00:37:28) I personally believe that the team would move if the legislature did not build the stadium. I believe that so strongly I was very concerned about how we would be able to retain employees in a year that we would be sort of dormant here and I had our attorneys working on paid estate bonuses and all kinds of things that I would need to do to keep the employees here. I firmly believed that the team would move (00:37:58) Do you think there's any has all of this we're back into the stadium debate again has the (00:38:06) comfortable place to be (00:38:07) has the well been poison to the point where I mean, is there any way that this debate is going to be regenerated at any time in the future or the twins in the dome for the foreseeable future. What's what lies ahead? (00:38:21) Well, I think the well has been poisoned. I think we have had a lot of bad publicity some of which is our own fault because we made mistakes some of it was not our fault. We were dealing with some people who who who had different agendas and we did and took the opportunity to advance their agenda. It's it was a learning process for us and not a good one. As far as the future is concerned Major League Baseball if Major League Baseball is to survive and be competitive in the state of Minnesota the way We would all like it to be a new ballpark is going to have to come back on the debate again for Up For Debate again. Thanks for joining us sir. Appreciate it. Thank you. (00:39:06) Jerry Bell who is president of the Minnesota Twins? Well Governor any comment on what? Mr. Bell had this. Yes. First of all, I very much appreciate the fact that you gave him the opportunity to fully explain and you'll note that what he said is substantially different than all the clips. We've been seeing for the past 24 hours and I think the public is far far far better served when the media will allow people particularly when there's a controversy and people's reputations are at stake to be able to fully explain their position and not just have a little partial partial clip what Jerry Bell said, I fully agree with he said we asked for a decision. It's exactly what I told you the contract was valid. He sincerely believed I sincerely believed other sincerely believed that the twins would Fact leave the contract was extremely valid and if executed the twins would have left. Mmm now pray tell what is the story? Well, I guess we come back to that old kind of the nub of the issue again. He'd also said that up to that point the twins had regularly rebuffed all the efforts to sell the team and then they decided Well, we better move ahead. Yeah with the that's part of making a decision and that's precisely what we asked him to do. Is that creating a crisis. Calling somebody's Bluff is creating a crisis the crisis already existed Jerry Bell made it abundantly clear for you that they have been discussing the stadium issue for several years. It was in it was part of the election of 1996 the crisis existed Gary. Nobody invented the crisis. What Jay weiner would like to do is one seller book and the way you sell a book is he makes him exaggerations? Can you sensationalize people don't like to buy boring books? Ken's apps on the line with a question. Go ahead can (00:41:10) Gary high as you probably recall. I'm an economist from Metro State. I testified up at the legislature from 97 through 99 on this issue several points. I'd like to make one attacking attacking a journalist is like like shooting the messenger. There's no question that that the letter of intent created a crisis and attacking chain weiner for in covering. This is just just wrong. Secondly the holder the second. What do you mean by a letter of intent is not a contract a letter of intent allows either side to back out that was abundantly ice clear when it occurred thirdly without this letter of intent and crisis there would have been no need for the special session which cost the state millions of dollars the worst part Gary is as as you said that this whole episode poisoned the water on the attempt to find a creative. If solution I've been working with people for a long time to try to find a community ownership model, which would allow the citizens of our state to own the twins, but the crisis created by this letter of intent made this impossible. (00:42:24) I think that's a completely I think it's completely erroneous interpretation. The The Proposal collapsed in the legislative session long before this so-called letter of intent ever ever came into being and it goes back as early as the 1996 legislative elections. I don't know what this gentleman is talking about. I mean, he may have heat obviously testified at the let legislature on the economics of it or Community ownership Etc. But as you know those proposals like so many other proposals never Advanced, I guess I don't understand what his fundamental point is Paul your question. (00:43:02) Well, I just wanted to point out that the you know, the governor former Governor keeps saying that you know, he was calling the bluff and he doesn't see what the story was here. The story isn't so much about Bluffs or whether or not the contract with the contractor whether it was legitimate the problem that I have with it is that it's Like the governor's office was actually promoting the bluff, you know, he keeps saying what we were trying to put an end to this issue or trying to put it to rest, you know, you'll put an end to an issue by calling a special session. You know, I mean, obviously he wanted to build the stadium. Obviously he that's what the special session was for and obviously a you know, somebody you know it I mean, I don't hear the governor denying that somebody from his office told the twins that if there was a potential sale on the table, we would have a better chance of getting some of this through the legislator and that's the story, you know, it isn't, you know, it's you know, when you add all this up and least try and you know to break it down and you know into specifics, you know, where's the story was this contract legal that that's not the issue the issue is obviously that the governor's office and the twins were working together to get the Stadium built and that you know, this alleged crisis came into being as a part of that (00:44:18) process again. I don't know where he comes. With this phrase alleged crisis, of course, we were working with the twins. That was no private secret that was very public. We were working with all sorts of supports. We were working with legislators who support working with everybody who supported that does it make it evil that's precisely what you do to try to get a proposal passed we gave the proposal which was our proposal the best shot that we could in the legislative session of 1997. And we lost we lost a bipartisan basis. We acknowledge that that was it. We don't want to special session as Jerry belt said very clearly on this station just a few minutes ago. The governor did not want this thing to continue. I didn't want her protracted Abate my focus was on education reform that's where I wanted to take the state. And by the way, we did Prevail in that special session on education reform the the so-called crisis long existed. That Christ has been on for several years and that was the issue of could we retain the twins in Minnesota without a new stadium? And by the way, that Christ is continues to this day. What do you think will happen with the twins? I don't know. I'm not going to speculate because I'm not as close to it. Now. As I was I think next my gut reaction is that baseball nationally has some pretty serious problem problems of Revenue sharing problems of attracting and increased audience declining TV revenues other sports have have tried to boost attendance and to boost competition so that there's some Equity through Revenue sharing and and that's certainly been helpful. I mean the fact is when the Vikings win we have full of tenants when the Vikings lose things sent us to Slough off. That's very very natural. I hope there's some way for Major League Baseball to come to grips with the issue of how do we get competitive teams and all the markets. I think the good thing that's come out of all of these controversies. I'm not just talking with you and I are talking about today but over the past several years, is that by and large teams have to be very Full of even hinting of leaving anymore because having everybody begins to her to understand now that that this movie and of teams around has got to stop that wasn't the case in 1997. That wasn't the atmosphere if I recall right the Rams, I just moved but the environment has changed substantially since that time an increasingly Across the Nation communities are reluctant to a to to have teams move but on the other hand, they are continuing to build new stadiums. I think it was Seattle just demolish the kingdom and built a new facility and they hope that their team will be competitive you think and unfortunately, we're just about out of time. I should ask the sir lot earlier. Maybe we can have you back for a whole program service is the community as a whole interested in building much of anything anymore. He had Stadium stator know that that's a very good point know the Arts have suffered badly and that pole the Guthrie Theater is is struggling. I think that's sad. I think it's kind of a you know a Anti attitude right now. I think it needs a very positive leadership. I'd like to see the arch really properly funded properly support that defines a part of our quality of life. And while I'm not personally a big fan of Major League Sports professionally, I'm much more into the college and high school level. I think professional sports add to our quality of life. I really do and I just wish there was some way to conduct a thoughtful debate without all these implications of people being dishonest or doing things that are evil Etc. Then I'm sorry. I worked in government and been elected for 30 years and I found Democrats Republicans Independents to be very honorable people to be good people to try to serve the public as best as they possibly could and I hope that that attitude can continue. Thanks Governor. Appreciate your coming in today. Thank you the like former Minnesota Governor Arne Carlson joining us on this first hour of our midday program. It's 5 minutes now before 12 o'clock.