Wednesday, November 26, 2014

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Austin

AG gives opinion, but no resolution to dispute over F1 event funds

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Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott says he can't settle a dispute between Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and Comptroller Susan Combs over millions in taxpayer money earmarked for Formula 1.

Patterson asked Abbott in November to look into the process by which the state promised F1 $25 million dollars a year for 10 years to bring the US Grand Prix to the Austin area.

Patterson contends Combs overstepped her authority and no public money should be given out.

The disagreement centers on whether Austin applied to F1 to be the site of a race, offering state money as an incentive, or offered the money to clinch the deal after F1 had already decided to come here. Texas law says a local organizing committee, city or county has to apply to the event organizer to be considered as the site for an event.

Combs says that's exactly what happened, but Patterson has said there's no proof..

Attorney General Abbott, in Friday's opinion, specified that the process must be followed if the money is to be awarded, but he chose to stay out of the squabble between the commissioner and comptroller.

In addition to millions of taxpayer dollars at stake, the disagreement appears steeped in politics. Both Combs and Patterson reportedly have eyes on the lieutenant governor's office in 2014.

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