Originally created 01/17/97

Coliseum Authority reaches deal with management firm



The Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority has reached terms with Houston-based Leisure Management International for taking over control of the Civic Center.

LMI signed the deal Thursday in Houston and was sending it to Augusta by overnight mail, said Sam Nicholson, the attorney for the authority and negotiator of the contract. Authority Chairman William Calhoun, who was out of town Thursday, should sign the contract today or over the weekend, Mr. Nicholson said.

LMI could be running day-to-day operations "by the end of next week," Mr. Nicholson said.

The contract is for two years with a two-year option. It will pay LMI $85,000 plus 17.5 percent of the amount by which they reduce the Civic Center's operating deficit. The deficit reduction bonus cannot exceed $85,000 a year.

The authority selected LMI in November, authorizing a contract with those terms. Negotiations were slowed in part by questions about current Civic Center workers.

"We wanted to make sure they took all the employees, which they ended up agreeing to do," Mr. Nicholson said.

LMI didn't have specific plans to dismiss employees, but wanted to go through its own review process, Mr. Nicholson said.

LMI officials will select a coliseum director candidate whom they will submit to the authority for approval.