Senate Finance Chairman: No PawSox deal without team financials

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The chairman of the committee vetting an $83-million deal for a new Pawtucket Red Sox stadium says the process won’t move forward unless the team’s owners hand over profit and revenue information.

“Discussions are ongoing,” Democratic Senate Finance Chairman William Conley, who represents Pawtucket and East Providence, said in a statement Thursday. “However, the committee will not move forward without this necessary information.”

The pronouncement comes after the team refused to disclose profit and loss information in a written response to questions from the Senate Finance Committee earlier this week.

“The Team has endeavored to provide the Committee with as much financial information [as] possible without disclosing sensitive proprietary information,” team officials wrote.

A spokesperson for the PawSox declined to comment Thursday.

“I think it’s very reasonable for the legislature to ask for that,” Gov. Gina Raimondo told Eyewitness News Thursday night, adding: “I do think it can be confidential.”

Raimondo said she continues to support the stadium deal, which proposes using $71 million worth of government bonds to be paid back with money from the team, the state and the city of Pawtucket. The deal hinges on an expectation that tax revenue generated by the stadium and ancillary development will more than cover taxpayers’ contributions.

“They’re asking for taxpayer money, and I think it’s only fair that we would be able to see the revenue and profit of the PawSox,” Raimondo said.

She added she would be disappointed if the deal fell through.

In his statement, Conley also said the R.I. Commerce Corporation, an arm of the Raimondo administration, failed to follow “protocol” when making the deal with the PawSox.

“Normally, the Commerce Corporation conducts a financial review and assessment of a company’s viability prior to moving forward with an agreement,” Conley said.

Raimondo said the Commerce Corporation did an “excellent job” in negotiating the deal and said she wants the full vetting process to continue in the legislature.

“I think the PawSox belong in Pawtucket,” she said.