Cleveland lawyer: Cancellation of Q renovations puts Cavaliers future in Cleveland in jeopardy
Fred Nance has plenty of reasons to be upset at the cancellation of the Q Transformation Project -- chief among them being that he negotiated it.
But when it comes to Cleveland's interest in the matter, the Squire Patton Boggs managing partner fears that it could put the Cavaliers' future in the city in doubt.
"I think it has put a big question mark on the future of the Cavs in Cleveland," Nance told WKYC by phone on Tuesday. "Because while the deal would have extended [the Cavs] lease and we wouldn't have had to deal with this until 2034, it's not clear what's going to happen in 2027 and owners don't wait until December 30 of the last year of their lease -- they start making those plans years ahead of time.
"We have significantly diminished our ability to keep this team here as a result of this."
As Nance, who negotiated the Quicken Loans Arena renovation deal on behalf of Cuyahoga County notes, the Cavs' current lease is scheduled to expire after 2027 and would have been extended until 2034 under the now-canceled agreement. The Cavaliers and team owner Dan Gilbert pulled out of the deal on Monday, citing, time delays due to a 'referendum’ attempt making the project unfeasible.
The Cavs' decision to void the deal came 18 days after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the now-dead deal must head to a public vote. The court's ruling came after a group named the Greater Cleveland Congregations led a petition drive to present the court with the aforementioned referendum against the deal.
Under the initial deal, which was first announced in February, the Cavs would have accounted for $70 million of the $140 million proposal, with the other $70 million coming from public funding, generated primarily by a portion of the existing Admission Tax of every ticket sold to every event at Quicken Loans Arena.
According to a press release, the Cavaliers had also committed to covering any and all construction cost overruns on the project.
Nance now fears not only what the cancellation of the deal will mean for the Cavs' future in Cleveland, but the precedent it could set for similar agreements.
"If an outside group can come along and say, 'Even after you have negotiated such a deal and you're ready to go forward, we're going to stop that deal, we're going to use this very seldom-used mechanism in Cleveland's charter to stop that deal until you pay us too,' it could grind other deals to a halt the way it has killed this deal," Nance said. "It's not something this community should stand for."
Nance talked one-on-one with WKYC's Jim Donovan during Tuesday's 'Donovan Live!' You can watch that interview in the player above.
You can hear Nance's full comments, including his thoughts on the belief that Gilbert should pay for the entire deal himself and what could be next for the Cavs and Cleveland, in the video below: