Sports Authority taps reserves to pay Reliant Stadium debt

HOUSTON -- The Harris County-Houston Sports Authority, for the first time, is turning to its $56 million reserve account to make a debt payment on Reliant Stadium.

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The Houston Chronicle reported Friday that the authority is short $5 million on a payment due this week on the venue, which is home to the Houston Texans.

The debt payments surged in 2009 after the downgrade of its bond insurer and then a bank's demand that the authority pay off, in five years, debt that had been due by 2030.

Sports Authority chairman J. Kent Friedman says it's a short-term "cash-flow crunch" and he's not concerned.

The authority must pay $12 million twice a year to cover payments on $125 million in variable rate bonds. This month's installment is the third of 10 inflated payments.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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