Disappointment: Constant theme from local leaders about PawSox


(WPRI) — It didn’t take long for the finger-pointing to begin after the PawSox’s announced its decision to move the team from Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts.

The team Friday announced it signed a Letter of Intent to build a downtown ballpark in the city and that it would leave Pawtucket’s McCoy Stadium in two years.

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien

“The PawSox do not make Pawtucket. Pawtucket made the PawSox.
The city I am proud and honored to represent is made great by our resilient community and, no matter what challenge we face, Pawtucket will continue to move forward toward an even brighter future.
I know many of my neighbors in Pawtucket and throughout Rhode Island are struggling today with the sudden news of this treasured piece of the fabric of our community being ripped out of its rightful home.
While unclear if the Massachusetts subsidies are truly a done deal, no matter what Pawtucket will pursue other innovative ways to invest in our quality of life, as a community and with our fellow Rhode Islanders.
Our community has a strong history of persevering. And, together, we will forge ahead to a brighter tomorrow.
Up until Thursday night, and for the last three years, the City of Pawtucket and the State of Rhode Island had been working with the PawSox to keep this treasured institution, and the jobs associated with it, here in Pawtucket where they belong. Sadly, we had to learn through media reports, like everyone else, that the ownership group had decided to take our team and move it to Worcester in light of substantial subsidies provided by Worcester and the State of Massachusetts.
We, just like everyone else, including the taxpayers of Worcester and Massachusetts, wait anxiously to see something publicly related to this proposal. The Worcester process is unlike the highly vetted and transparent Rhode Island process that protected taxpayer. Though many details remain behind closed doors, where they were negotiated, we will take the weekend to digest the limited information that was released this afternoon and I will hold a press conference early next week to provide further comments and thoughts.”

House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello

“It is very unfortunate and extremely disappointing that the PawSox have decided to leave Rhode Island.  The state’s proposal contained strong protections for the taxpayers and shifted the risk to the investors.  It was responsive to the concerns of the taxpayers who made it clear that they did not want to accept the risk contained within the original proposal.  It is disheartening the PawSox did not show the same loyalty to the City of Pawtucket and the State of Rhode Island as the taxpayers and fans have shown to them for many decades.”

Senate President Dominick Ruggerio

“It is extremely disappointing to learn of today’s decision by the PawSox.

“The Senate did everything it could to pass responsible legislation to keep the PawSox in Rhode Island. I am very grateful for the commitment and hard work of Chairman Conley and the Senate Finance Committee. The committee was extremely diligent, holding over 30 hours of public hearings during an exceptionally open and transparent process. In recognition of the opportunity before us to revitalize downtown Pawtucket while preserving a Rhode Island institution, the Senate voted in the opening weeks of session this January to pass a responsible ballpark plan.

“The Senate legislation was fair to the team and beneficial to state and city taxpayers. I am certain that the team would have stayed in Pawtucket had the Senate bill passed into law. I am proud of my colleagues in the Senate for their work on the ballpark proposal.”

Lt. Gov. Dan McKee

“The departure of the Paw Sox marks a missed opportunity for economic development in the Blackstone Valley. I have great respect and admiration for Mayor Grebien and the local leaders who fought tirelessly for a city they love and a cause they knew was important to all Rhode Islanders. I was proud to stand with them in this fight. Now, I am calling on state leaders to join me in committing to invest in the City of Pawtucket to jump-start the economic revitalization this community deserves.”

Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (Republican Candidate for Governor)

“This shocking news serves as a sad symbol of how completely broken the system is, and how corruption on Smith Hill affects everyone in our state. Sad Sox fans can only reach one conclusion as they watch their team this year: We need a change. We can’t continue on this path where the only solution is to pay people to come to or stay in Rhode Island. It doesn’t work. The dysfunctional relationship between the Governor, Speaker, and Senate President, prevented any deal from ever happening and now families and local businesses are paying the price.

We don’t need small changes. We need to fundamentally reform government in this state: First we need to lower taxes, lower fees, and make the pipeline more friendly. We need to have an Office of the Inspector General to shed light on waste and fraud and fully flush out RI failures like 38 Studios. We need to restore confidence in government. We know it can be done. I have done it right here in Cranston and I can do it for the entire state. We can and we must do better than this.”

Joe Trillo (Independent Candidate for Governor)

“It is extremely disappointing that no one from Governor Raimondo, to the Speaker of the House, to the Senate President, stood up to the plate to handle this important economic development opportunity for the city of Pawtucket and the state, properly,” said Trillo.

“Everyone ran from this issue, because it’s an election year, which is very telling about the political leadership in our state.  What needed to be done, is the leadership in this state needed to sit down one-on-one with the owners of the PawSox and continue to work a deal out, just like they do when they are trying to get bills passed in the General Assembly,” he added. 

“This deal could have been done without putting taxpayer dollars at risk.  Without having the ability to be in direct negotiations with all the key players, it’s clear the deal has fallen apart because of ineffective leadership.  Governor Raimondo is a disappointment to the state of Rhode Island, and to all its taxpayers.”

“From the outside, it looks like the PawSox owners were disrespected by the governor and other leaders in the General Assembly, by them not personally getting involved, to negotiate a deal that would have been beneficial to the state of Rhode Island, the city of Pawtucket, the taxpayers, as well as the PawSox owners.”

“This deal needed personal involvement, which it was lacking.  When you go into a negotiation the first thing you do, is you try to understand who you’re negotiating with, what their goals are, and what they need to be happy.  Then, you try to work their needs around the needs of the taxpayers and the citizens of the state.  I know that wasn’t done.”  

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