El Paso City Council revisits ballpark deal

POSTED: 03:26 PM MDT Jun 25, 2013    UPDATED: 09:08 PM MST Jan 15, 2014 
EL PASO, Texas -

Even though there are some new City Council members and the mayor is new -- the debate is old.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser says the City made a bad deal when it entered into a contract with MountainStar Sports Group last year.

But nevertheless, the mayor says it's too late to back out now.

The emotions came to a head on Tuesday, when City Rep. Eddie Holguin requested a guarantee from MountainStar Sports' owners for the additional money the group was awarded last week.

But the group's attorney made it clear that wasn't going to happen.

"Let me be straightforward and right to the point -- there is no reason to ask the owners of MountainStar to ask for a gurantee. The answer is 'no,'" said Mark Osborne, attorney for MountainStar.

Holguin said he wanted the guarantee to insure the City wasn't going to be stuck with extra debt if Triple-A baseball flops in El Paso.

Because MountainStar is a limited liability company, Holguin claimed the corporation could simply file for bankruptcy and the City wouldn't have any way to reclaim lost money.

The City's chief financial officer stated they estimated an average of 6,000 seats would have to be sold every game to keep debt payback on par.

But some council members didn't think that estimate was realistic.

Leeser pushed for the city manager to go back to MountainStar and ask once again, for a guarantee, even though the corporation's attorney had said no just minutes before.

"We'd love to see this as an olive branch -- make sure this is the best community as possible," Leeser said.