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In response to a recent Washington City Paper Loose Lips column (11/13) and a subsequent Washington Post editorial on Nov. 14, the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission Board of Directors would like to clarify matters concerning the structure and operations of the organization. Our intent is to correct several inaccurate factual matters that were contained in the pieces.
The statement in the Washington City Paper that board membership “guarantees…an invite to sit in Pollin’s box during Wizards’ basketball games, and good seats at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium” is false and misleading. No board member receives any such type of remuneration or compensation for participation with the commission. The MCl Center is not under our management. Indeed, Jack Kent Cooke Stadium is not even within the confines of the District, and is thus not under the jurisdiction of the commission, either. The commission neither has a box nor receives free tickets at these facilities. In addition, the budget for both the Robert F. Kennedy Stadium and D.C. Armory operations, which includes items such as staff salaries, maintenance costs, and utilities, totals closer to $7.5 million than the $10 million figure that was stated.
The commission’s board is made up of a cross-section of District-based professionals who care about the city, the operations of the facilities, and the work of the staff. The diligence and hard work of these individuals have led to profitable performances by the commission without the need for government funding. Of high priority for the commission over the years has been the establishing of a Community Outreach Grants Program to assist nonprofit groups in promoting recreational activities for District youth, developing a plan to bring major-league baseball back to D.C., supporting the regional Olympic bid, and continuing to promote soccer in this market.
Due to the structure and composition of the commission, no one board member unduly influences the decisions of the 11-member board of directors. The Finance Committee sets forth budget guidelines and spending limits. The application process for awarding grants is supervised by another committee. It should be noted that Mayor Barry sits on neither of these committees. In addition, full board approval is also required for all dispersal of funds other than ordinary and normal business expenditures.
The ideals, objectives, and success of the commission go beyond any one person and are directed to fulfilling the best interests of Washington, D.C., as a whole. The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission’s board of directors has carried out its duties and responsibilities with great dedication and integrity, which each member can point to with pride and a sense of accomplishment.
D.C. Sports Commission Board of Directors