(670 The Score) Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk believes there’s something fishy about the latest development in the Bears’ quest to build a new stadium.
On Friday, the Bears announced that Arlington Heights is no longer their sole focus as a location to potentially build a new stadium. That revelation came as the Bears met with Naperville officials about potential locations to build a stadium in their municipality.
The reason the Bears are exploring other options is because of tension over tax assessments on their 326-acre Arlington Park property, which they paid $197 million to acquire. Last week, a settlement was reached between Churchill Downs Inc., the previous owner of Arlington Park, and three local school districts on a $95-million value for the property. Previously, the owner paid taxes based on a value of $33 million in 2021, according to reports. A key for the Bears is “seeking property tax certainty and support for infrastructure,” the team previously said in February.
Florio isn’t sure if the Bears miscalculated what taxes would be or if outside forces are conspiring against them, but the situation is “weird” to him.
“How do you purchase this property at Arlington Heights without some idea that there’s the possibility that someone is going to put their thumb on the tax scale at some point?” Florio said on the Mully & Haugh Show on Tuesday morning. “And did they not have any idea? Were they naive? Were they oblivious? Or was there something nefarious going on here? Is there some political force that I’m not aware of that’s going to seal off any avenue for the Bears?
“It’s just weird to me. This is the first time that I can think of that we’ve had a complication like this where a team is considering an alternate site and everything looked good until it didn’t. It’s either neglect or lack of proper care and foresight by the team or somebody is messing with them to keep them from going there. It’s one or the other. This just doesn’t happen out of the blue, that all of a sudden that the property taxes become so untenable that you’re just not going to go there. Unless they knew and this is their way to try to squeeze it down – now that this process is moving along, ‘Oh, we knew the property taxes were going to be an issue but we can squeeze somebody to drop that amount by flirting with Naperville instead.’
“This is high-stakes, big-money big business. There’s always a story behind the story. I feel like there’s a story percolating somewhere beneath this one of either negligence or some sort of foul play.”