DC attorney general rips into Wizards and Capitals, says they’re trying to dodge decades of obligations to Washington

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The District of Columbia attorney general is arguing that the NBA’s Washington Wizards and the NHL’s Washington Capitals must play their games indoors until 2047. prevent him from leaving it’s one that team owners believe they can’t legally handle.

In a letter Brian Schwalb wrote this week to Monumental Sports and Entertainment that was obtained by The Associated Press on Friday, Schwalb cited a 2007 bond agreement that extended the team’s lease for 20 years beyond the original period until 2027.

The letter comes across as Monumental $2 billion plan for a new stadium across the Potomac River in Alexandria it has stopped in Virginia law.

Schwalb said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s $500 million commitment to renovate Capital One Arena is still in place. Bowser in an op-ed piece in the Washington Post last month urged Monumental to consider it and said the city would enforce the lease if necessary.

“The District is very reluctant to follow through on its recommendations to address MSE,” Schwalb wrote in a letter written Tuesday to Monumental General Counsel Abby Blomstrom in response to one sent to the city last month. “It remains committed to maintaining and expanding its partnership with MSE and keeping the Wizards and Capitals at the Arena until the end of the current lease period in 2047, if not longer. That is why the district is encouraging MSE to negotiate with local authorities to help both the district and MSE. “

Monica Dixon, chief executive officer at Monumental, explained the company’s case on Feb. 12 when asked about the lease.

“We would not have entered into negotiations with the city or Virginia these past two years without good, legal advice, and we have confidence in it,” Dixon said at the time. “If this is what leads to litigation, we should allow it to happen – I believe it won’t – but we are confident in the agreement we signed and the changes.”

A Monumental spokeswoman said Friday, “We strongly disagree with the attorney general’s opinion, which was challenged by the DC judge as recently as 2019 when the city approved the contract.”

The agreement five years ago also approved another one made in 2007 that allows Monumental to prepay the bonds and cancel the extension with 120 days’ notice.

Earlier this month, Virginia Democratic Sen. L. Louise Lucas he used his own as chairman of the Finance and Appropriations Committee to maintain the game’s cooperation with Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin and Ted Leonsis, director of Monumental, outside the state budget. That development does not mean the end of the road, but it disrupts the way forward.

“Why are we discussing the Potomac Yard with the same organization that is breaking the contract and commitments it made in Washington DC?” Lucas wrote on social media. “Does anyone believe that they will not do the same to us?”

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