Just a year ago, Cleveland Mayor Michael White faced a crisis: The Cleveland Browns were moving to Baltimore. White launched a rescue mission on behalf of this sports-mad city, preparing legal challenges and begging the NFL to give Cleveland another team. Ultimately, the NFL relented, promising another club by the 1999 season if it could raise the money to help build a new stadium by then.
White met the challenge. He quickly sold most of a new stadium's 114 luxury boxes to Cleveland's corporate community. He clinched the deal on Jan. 21 when fans snapped up leases for 5,600 club seats, 1,600 more than needed. That means the NFL now must cough up $48 million for the stadium, which could cost up to $250 million.
White, considered one of the nation's more promising mayors, faces another huge problem: Cleveland's failing public school system. He's working on that one, too. His plan to take personal control of the schools is working its way through the Ohio legislature and is expected to pass.