Most Orioles fans want an update on a new lease agreement between the state and the team. Most fans do not have the bully pulpit used by Treasurer Dereck Davis.
Davis, speaking at the close of the Board of Public Works on Wednesday, chided both sides for dragging out negotiations and for a lack of transparency.
“I want to know what’s going on,” Davis said at the close of the meeting. “A significant investment has been made on behalf of the state. And I’m not saying it’s anybody’s fault, because I honestly don’t know. But it’s time. It’s time and folks need to be called out on it.”
Davis added that he was making the comments in front of reporters to ramp up pressure on the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority.
The treasurer elaborated on his comments following the meeting.
“Everybody’s holding out for the best deal possible for their side,” Davis told reporters following the meeting. “So, I’m not pointing the finger at the Orioles or the Stadium Authority. Actually, I’m pointing it at both. But I’m not saying one party or the other is at fault. But this, this has to end or let us know what’s going on.”
“They owe it to the state and taxpayers. This foot dragging has got to stop,” Davis said
The Orioles have called Camden Yards home since 1993. The team and Maryland Stadium Authority are in negotiations over a lease extension.
“There’s no reason why this is dragging,” Davis told reporters. “It didn’t take that long for the Ravens. I get each negotiation is different but there’s something that we’re not being told. …If it’s that complicated that it’s dragging on, I certainly don’t want the state to agree to something at the last minute, and then put it before us to just vote on it and agree on. It’s something significant. It has to be something significant. It’s time that the taxpayers and the people that have to vote on it know what that is.”
John Angelos, team chairman and CEO, promised an announcement about a new deal by Major League Baseball’s all-star break.
The game came and went last week. There was no announcement.
Instead, the team and Gov. Wes Moore (D) issued a joint statement that provided no new information nor a timeline for a deal.
“We’ve laid the groundwork for success, and progress is also being made on our vision to expand and revitalize the Camden Yards campus,” the pair said in that July 13 statement. “We are determined to make it happen, and soon.”
Earlier this year, Moore accompanied Angelos and team officials on a tour of The Battery Atlanta, a year-round entertainment district near the Atlanta Braves’ home field.
“What comes next for the Camden Yards campus must serve our entire community and the city as a whole,” Angelos and Moore said in the joint statement. “From the ballpark and surrounding neighborhoods to Harborplace and the Inner Harbor, we are committed to making the downtown corridor a premier destination that benefits Baltimore and Maryland residents year-round.”
A spokesperson for John Angelos referred a reporter back to the joint statement.
Maryland Stadium Authority Chair Craig Thompson said the governor “is committed to working in partnership with the Baltimore Orioles to finalize an agreement and bring it before the Board of Public Works for approval as quickly as possible.”
Davis said the joint statement from last week was the main reason he decided to comment Wednesday.
“I’ve tried to stay out of it, stay in my lane,” said Davis. “But as one of the voices of the people, I’ve just felt at this time I should say something. I need to raise the issue. I tried to stay in my lane and let the parties negotiate and do their thing. But this is taking too long.”
Davis wondered what specific issues are holding up the negotiations.
“We’re not talking about $2 billion to build a new stadium,” he said. “And they say is not even about that. It’s about other things. So, what are those other things? Why is this dragging along?”
Davis did not address any of his comments to Moore.
“I know the government is working hard to make this happen but the principles they have to do so as well,” said Davis. “And it can’t just drag on indefinitely.”
Following the board meeting, a spokesperson for Moore said the governor remained committed to reaching an agreement with the team.
“Treasurer Davis is a valued partner on the Board of Public Works,” said Brittany Marshall. “He and the governor have a shared goal of advancing an agreement with the Orioles that will benefit Baltimore and the entire state.”
Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include a statement from the Maryland Stadium Authority and a statement from the governor’s staff.