The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, the entity created to build new stadiums for billionaire sports owners, has found itself reduced to junk-bond status.
Kind of like the Astros, Texans and Rockets, really.
Hotel occupancy and car rentals -- the magic carpet that would allow these playpens to be built without local tax revenue -- ain't what they used to be. The Authority had been seeking to refinance about $100 million of debt, but now the interest rates they would have to pay to do so make that unlikely.
Not to worry, says HCHSA head J. Kent Friedman.
"The lower ratings will have no effect on local property taxpayers, Houston's sports teams' ability to play in the stadiums, the city's ability to attract events to the facilities, or the eventual repayment of bondholders, thanks to the enabling legislation that led to the creation of the Sports Authority," he said in a prepared statement.
The Dynamo's new stadium plans will also not be affected.
So, basically, absolutely nothing will happen to local taxpayers or teams even though the agency's bond rating has been torpedoed until it is as bad as it can be.
The Authority's troubles began when Moody's downgraded MBIA, the entity that insures its bonds.
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But again, no reason to worry. It's all because of the semi-farsightedness of the statesmen who created the Sports Authority, Friedman said. We use "semi-farsightedness" because we don't quite understand his claim:
Our elected officials who created the Sports Authority in 1997 could not have predicted today's economic climate and MBIA's rating difficulties, but they did an outstanding job of structuring the Sports Authority for just this sort of possible occurence.
Ummm, in other words, they couldn't foresee something but did things that would help if those things happened.
Move along, nothing to see here.....