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Mark Tuohey and Ray Hutchison of Vinson & Elkins share a remarkable history. D.C. partner Tuohey is co-director of V&E litigation. Hutchison, of counsel in Dallas, focuses on public finance. The overlap? In 2004, as chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, Tuohey spearheaded the effort to turn the Montreal Expos baseball team into the Washington Nationals. Coincidentally, Hutchison, representing the city of Arlington, Texas, had helped turn the then-Washington Senators into the Texas Rangers in 1971. In Tuohey’s case, brokering was frenzied as late as December. The result: D.C. will float more than $500 million in bonds, blended with private financing, business taxes, and rent from the eventual owners (the team is now owned by Major League Baseball). That will pay for renovations to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium, where the team will play temporarily, and for construction of a new park, slated to open in 2008. A soccer stadium and other facilities are included as part of a broader development of the Anacostia riverfront. In March, Tuohey sat down with Dirk Olin, an editor at The American Lawyer , in the D.C. offices of V&E to reflect on the deal. Hutchison joined them by speakerphone from Texas. You have a robust practice � how has that been affected by your District work? Mark Tuohey: I billed 2,100 hours to clients last year, and I put in a little more than 1,000 pro bono hours for the sports authority. The firm’s been very supportive. You’re a white-collar specialist. Did you do the transactional work here, too? MT: The lawyers who did the drafting were Andy Jack and Bruce Wilson from Covington & Burling. They’re terrific. They do work for the NFL and the NHL. Did you two compare notes much during this process? MT: I consulted with Ray frequently, of course! Ray Hutchison: But it was different back then, you see. MT: Ray, tell him the story. This is a great story. RH: You mean about how the Rangers happened? Well, I’d represented the city of Arlington since the mid-1960s, and the mayor had a longing to bring baseball there. When Bob Short, who owned the Senators, said his team was in trouble, we pursued it. The Senators were short of cash. So I proposed, and the city agreed, to buy the rights to broadcast the team’s games for $10 million for 10 years. Did that seal the deal? RH: Not by itself. The baseball commissioner, Bowie Kuhn, was opposed because he thought Congress would be offended and repeal baseball’s antitrust exemption. He joined us when we met with the American League owners in Boston to explain our plans for the stadium and broadcast rights. Toward the end, there was a knock, and a porter entered carrying a silver plate with an envelope. As I recall, the letter said, “To the Owners of the Member Clubs of the American League: I implore you � repeat, implore you � do not remove the national pastime from our Nation’s Capital. Signed, Richard M. Nixon.” How did you beat that? RH: Kuhn nudged me and whispered, “We’ve got you now!” But the owners ended up approving the relocation. What obstacles did you face on the current deal? MT: The objection that you’re simply moving money around that would have been spent in another part of town. The difference here is that 75 to 80 percent of the moneys will come into the stadium from Virginia and Maryland. You’re creating an entirely new source of income to the District. Why shouldn’t MLB and the new owners be paying more? MT: That’s not the way baseball financing is done now. We competed with other locales. So we had to design a way that would not use public funds except to generate funds. A group of businesses through a gross receipts tax is supporting this. The rest is rent from the owners of $5.5 million � and in-stadium taxes on tickets, concessions, and parking that will come to $15 million to $20 million. RH: What’s most important is rent. They’ve negotiated a deal where the team will pay come hell or high water. That shifts the risk from the public to the people who know what they’re doing. MT: The principal components of repaying the bonds have nothing to do with a person walking in the door. Of course we’re damn near sold out already, as we move into day-of-game tickets. Major League Baseball still owns the team. How’s the search for a new owner proceeding? MT: Seven or eight groups have submitted their applications and their checks. They’ve had a chance to see the books and meet with the internal leadership structure of Major League Baseball in New York. Then the auction process will begin, but who knows when that will finish. I don’t anticipate a new owner by opening day, and I hope one will be in place by the end of the season. What provisions have been made if the new owners up and leave after a few years? MT: They will have purchased a stadium from us, because we have nonrelocation covenants in place that will go for 30 years. It occurs to me that the president used to own the Rangers. Was he involved at all? MT: The president was not involved, though he was informally supportive. And he’s scheduled to be there opening day to throw out the first ball. So is your work done here? MT: My term’s for five years. We have day-of-game operations, a soccer stadium to build, the youth fields, work on the armory. A lot of pressure will be off me after opening day, but baseball will still occupy 25 percent of my time. Dirk Olin is national editor of The American Lawyer , the ALM magazine where this interview first appeared.

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