Q&A: Financial terms of deal

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From the South Bend Tribune:

Q: A local American Indian tribe that operates a casino has reached a deal with a local minor league baseball team for naming rights to the baseball stadium, which is municipally owned and leased to the baseball team. The release states that the financial terms of the deal remain confidential between the two private parties. Is that legal?

A: It depends on the lease between the city and the baseball team. If the lease gives the team the authority to negotiate naming rights and keep the income from the agreement, then the records don’t fall under the scope of the Access to Public Records Act.

It’s like a golf pro who leases a city golf course. The contract between the city and pro is a public record, but the pro’s dealings involving club manufacturers, green and cart fees, etc., is not a public record, absent some reporting requirement in the lease with the city.

Check the city’s lease with the team and determine what reports the team must make to the city concerning the team’s revenue streams.

Contact Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel, with media law questions at skey@hspa.com or (317) 624-4427.

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