Minnesota – State Enabling Legislation for Community Owned Sports

Date: 15 May 2009 | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Numerous bills involving community ownership were introduced during the Minnesota Twins stadium debate of 1997 and early 1998. Most, however, were tainted with the inclusion of a publicly funded ballpark. Representative Phyllis Kahn’s House Bill 3348 separated this controversial issue from the community ownership concept, which received broad public support. Kahn’s bill authorized a$100 million state loan to purchase the Twins and donate the club to a nonprofit foundation, which would then be given one year to sell shares of stock in the team to the general public. While the bill does contain specific references to the Twins, it can be easily modified for introduction in other states.

In 2002, Kahn re-introduced a similar bill H.F No. 2587 which was debated, amended and passed out of the House Governmental Operations and Veterans Affairs Policy. The bill stalled after Governor Ventura’s administration put forward a plan to help the Minnesota Twins get a new outdoor stadium with the help of the state’s bonding authority.

Overview of H.F. 2587 – introduced by Rep. Kahn, January 29, 2002

Proposes a process for establishing community ownership of the Minnesota Twins.

Section 1 Purpose.

States legislative findings and purpose for community ownership of a professional baseball franchise.

Section 2 Acquisition.

Subd.1. Authority. Provides that the governor and the metropolitan sports facilities commission must attempt to provide for community ownership of the Minnesota Twins. Requires the governor and commission to attempt to work with the Twins and a community foundation or nonprofit corporation to transfer ownership of the Twins to the foundation or corporation by gift or sale. Requires development of a plan to offer shares of the franchise to the general public.

Subd.2. Conditions. Specifies conditions that must be met in a transfer to community ownership: Within one year of transfer to the foundation or nonprofit corporation, the foundation or corporation must offer the team for sale, as provided.

Class A shares will give owners full voting rights; Class B shares will give owners the right to vote only on relocation of the franchise. A private managing partner must be selected to operate the franchise, and must own no more than 25 percent of the class A stock. Other than the private managing partner, no individual or entity may own more than 5 percent of the class A stock, and at least 50 percent of the class A stock must be dispersed in a manner such that no person or entity owns more than one percent.

Thegoverning documents must provide that the franchise may not move outside of the state without approval of 80 percent of the shares of class A stock, and 80 percent of the shares of class B stock.

Withinone year of transfer of ownership to the foundation or nonprofit corporation, the commission must determine if subscriptions for purchase of class A stock are sufficient to purchase 75 percent of the class A shares not owned by the managing partner. The community foundation or nonprofit corporation must have the right to sell its interest in the franchise if less than 75 percent of the class A stock held not held by the managing partner is not sold within a year.

Subd.3. Prohibition. Prohibits a state agency from spending money from a state fund to generate revenue under this section or to provide operating support for a professional baseball franchise.


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