Review: Al Pacino Stars in HBO’s ‘Paterno,’ a Tragedy Without a Hero


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In HBO’s “Paterno,” Al Pacino plays Joe Paterno, the famed football coach at Penn State whose career and reputation were undone by a sexual abuse scandal involving an assistant coach.

Credit
Atsushi Nishijima/HBO, via Associated Press

HBO’s “Paterno” is a film about a real-life sex-abuse scandal in which the abuser and the abused are relegated to supporting roles. A dogged reporter (Riley Keough) and one brave victim (Benjamin Cook) get a fair bit of screen time to help fill in the historical record, but they’re not at the center of the story. Jerry Sandusky, the perpetrator, is relegated to a cameo.

The writers, Debora Cahn and John C. Richards, and the director, Barry Levinson, focus instead on Joe Paterno, the beloved head coach of the Penn State football team who froze in the headlights and got run over by history. There’s a lot of clamor and fuss in “Paterno,” which has its premiere Saturday, but at heart it’s a film about the lack of action — about things that didn’t get done.

The tightly constructed film — at 1 hour 40 minutes, it’s a chamber piece by current television standards — is set during two weeks in 2011, before and after the indictment of Mr. Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach, on 52 counts of sexual abuse of minors. Paterno, whose epic career ended when he was fired a few days after the indictment was announced, lies inside an M.R.I. machine (he died of lung cancer in January 2012), and we watch both recent and more distant events as he recalls them.

Al Pacino plays Paterno, and in keeping with the film’s conception, he gives a tamped-down, contained performance. His Paterno is still intelligent and possessed of the quick, pragmatic instincts of a leader at 84, but he’s hollow: His life is built around a work ethic, and his fatal failure to follow through on reports of Sandusky’s crimes isn’t about corruption or complicity, it’s about single-mindedness. He simply won’t allow himself to be distracted from football.

A lot of people in “Paterno” have reasons to ignore what’s happening, and the film uses reactions to the Sandusky indictment to represent years of refusing to look. “Have you read it?” is a constant question, and the answer is often no. Paterno puts it off until the discord in his own family and the nagging force of his memories drive him to start reading.

The film’s picture of Paterno is, if not sympathetic, certainly nuanced. His perceptions and his responses to events are often smarter and more generous than those of the people around him, who are concerned only with protecting him and the school. (Kathy Baker is excellent as Paterno’s wife, Sue.) But his only frame of reference is football, and even there his vision is constricted — in the film’s scheme, the Penn State players are as much in the background as the children Sandusky abused. Paterno talks a good game about education and shaping young lives, but his main concern is his own professionalism. “I had a job to do,” he cries. “I was working.”

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50 Years After Dr. King’s Death, Remembering the Women Who Steered the Movement


Women like Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and Fannie Lou Hamer, who came to prominence at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, appear in history books alongside their male peers.

But less widely celebrated are those like Dorothy I. Height, referred to in a New York Times obituary as both “the grande dame of the civil rights era and its unsung heroine.” Or Gloria Richardson, who famously waved away the bayonet of a National Guardsman during a protest captured on film.

“You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me,” Ella Baker, who organized the conference that created SNCC, once said. “The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

Fifty years after Dr. King’s death in Memphis, we delved into photo archives to pull out stories of a few of the female leaders inside the movement. We’d also like your help in identifying some of the women and men who have appeared in iconic photos of the civil rights movement but whose names are unknown. (Read about them here.)

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Gloria Richardson, 94, at her home in New York City on March 24, 2018.

Credit
Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Gloria Richardson

As the former head of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Gloria Richardson had national clout, having met with Robert F. Kennedy, then the attorney general, as protests escalated in her town. Some called her Glorious Gloria, and she was among a handful of women — including Ms. Nash — who were recognized on stage at the 1963 March on Washington (though, she said, she was not given the opportunity to speak). “All I got out was hello and they took the mic,” she said in a recent interview.

She was not a full adoptee of nonviolent tactics. In a standoff captured on film, Ms. Richardson, now 94, waved away the bayonet of a National Guardsman at a protest in Cambridge in 1963. “It was half fear and half God,” she told The Times.

Photo

Dorothy I. Height stands feet away from Dr. King as he speaks to thousands during his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

Credit
Associated Press

Dorothy I. Height
Dorothy I. Height was a few feet away from Dr. King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. As president of the National Council of Negro Women, she was part of an elite group of organization presidents — including Dr. King; John Lewis, then the president of SNCC; and Whitney Young, executive director of the National Urban League — called “The Big Six.” But photographers would often crop her out of pictures — or even request her removal while shooting, said Karsonya Whitehead, an associate professor at Loyola University in Maryland. “She was asked to step aside,” Ms. Whitehead said.

Photo

Juanita Jones Abernathy with Lloyd Hawk of the Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta on March 31, 2013.

Credit
Bryan Meltz for The New York Times

Juanita Jones Abernathy
Many historians pinpoint the start of the civil rights movement as the arrest of Rosa Parks — the secretary of the N.A.A.C.P. in Montgomery, Ala., whose refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus prompted the Montgomery bus boycott. But it was Juanita Jones Abernathy who answered the phone call with news of the arrest, said her son, Kwame Abernathy. The rest, her son said, “is literally history,” as she became intimately involved in the movement and survived the bombing of her home with her two children. Once asked by an interviewer about the role of women in the movement, Ms. Abernathy said, “The men ran the movement, but we were the actual bodies that made it happen.”

Photo

Dorothy Cotton, left, and Septima Clark, in Wilcox County, Ala., in 1966.

Credit
Bob Fitch Archive/Stanford University Library

Septima Clark
Months before Ms. Parks took her seat on that bus, she attended workshops to learn about civic engagement at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., an integrated grass-roots leadership school for adults. It was Septima Clark — sometimes called the “grandmother” or the “queen mother” of the movement — who developed those workshops, as well as literacy and citizenship programs, which were critical to combating Jim Crow laws that prevented black people from voting. A native of Charleston, S.C., Ms. Clark had landed at Highlander after being fired from a teaching job because she refused to resign from her local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. She later developed citizenship programs — where educators trained volunteers to help register black voters — for S.C.L.C.

Photo

Dorothy Cotton teaching a citizenship education class in Alabama, 1966.

Credit
Bob Fitch Archive/Stanford University Library

Dorothy Cotton
Dorothy Cotton rose from administrative assistant to one of the highest-ranking women in the S.C.L.C. — placing her inside Dr. King’s inner circle. Alongside Ms. Clark, she taught students how to peacefully protest even as people taunted them, pushed them and threatened their lives. She was a supervisor of teacher training in what came to be known as the citizenship schools, including Highlander. “People would come into my workshops, 30 or 40 people,” said Ms. Cotton, now 87 and living in Ithaca, N.Y. “When they left, they knew what nonviolence was about.”

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Ella Baker speaks on behalf of the SCLC at a news conference on Jan. 3, 1968.

Credit
Jack Harris/Associated Press

Ella Baker

Ella Baker was a field secretary and branch director of the N.A.A.C.P. who moved to Atlanta in 1957 to help organize for the S.C.L.C., working to ensure that the Montgomery bus boycott continued as a movement for change, not a moment in time. But Ms. Baker was not always in agreement with Dr. King or the other ministers who made up the S.C.L.C.: She believed in bottom-up grass-roots organizing, not top-down autocracy. In 1960, she convened a landmark meeting at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., for student leaders of the lunch counter sit-ins, and encouraged them to form their own organization. It would become SNCC, headed by John Lewis, now a longtime Congressman.

Photo

Bernice Johnson Reagon performs in 1963 with the Freedom Singers, an a cappella group that raised money for SNCC. From left: Charles Neblett, Ms. Reagon, her husband Cordell Reagon and Rutha Harris.

Credit
Joe Alper

Bernice Johnson Reagon

As a student at Albany State College in Georgia, Bernice Johnson Reagon was expelled because of her activism (or “behavior unbecoming a student of Albany State College,” she said in a recent phone interview). She would go on to become a leader in the movement, who later formed the award-winning a cappella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. In an interview, Ms. Reagon, who is also a historian, said she could recall her teachings from Ms. Clark, Ms. Cotton and Ms. Baker at the Highlander school, and was inspired by Ms. Baker to write “Ella’s Song,” a cry of determination put to a melody. The lyrics borrow from a statement made by Ms. Baker in 1964: “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”

Photo

Fannie Lou Hamer speaks to Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party sympathizers outside the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 17, 1965.

Credit
William J. Smith/Associated Press

Fannie Lou Hamer

A sharecropper who joined SNCC in 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer was fired from her farming job after she tried to register to vote in Mississippi. She drew national attention when she helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to oppose an all-white delegation from Mississippi at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. She testified at a committee meeting at the convention despite an impromptu news conference held by President Lyndon B. Johnson intended to block her testimony from being televised. It is remembered as one of the most powerful speeches of the movement. “All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens,” she said. “And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?”

Continue reading the main story

50 Years After Dr. King’s Death, Remembering the Women Who Steered the Movement


Women like Rosa Parks, who refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus, and Fannie Lou Hamer, who came to prominence at the 1964 Democratic National Convention, appear in history books alongside their male peers.

But less widely celebrated are those like Dorothy I. Height, referred to in a New York Times obituary as both “the grande dame of the civil rights era and its unsung heroine.” Or Gloria Richardson, who famously waved away the bayonet of a National Guardsman during a protest captured on film.

“You didn’t see me on television, you didn’t see news stories about me,” Ella Baker, who organized the conference that created SNCC, once said. “The kind of role that I tried to play was to pick up pieces or put together pieces out of which I hoped organization might come. My theory is, strong people don’t need strong leaders.”

Fifty years after Dr. King’s death in Memphis, we delved into photo archives to pull out stories of a few of the female leaders inside the movement. We’d also like your help in identifying some of the women and men who have appeared in iconic photos of the civil rights movement but whose names are unknown. (Read about them here.)

Photo

Gloria Richardson, 94, at her home in New York City on March 24, 2018.

Credit
Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times

Gloria Richardson

As the former head of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, Gloria Richardson had national clout, having met with Robert F. Kennedy, then the attorney general, as protests escalated in her town. Some called her Glorious Gloria, and she was among a handful of women — including Ms. Nash — who were recognized on stage at the 1963 March on Washington (though, she said, she was not given the opportunity to speak). “All I got out was hello and they took the mic,” she said in a recent interview.

She was not a full adoptee of nonviolent tactics. In a standoff captured on film, Ms. Richardson, now 94, waved away the bayonet of a National Guardsman at a protest in Cambridge in 1963. “It was half fear and half God,” she told The Times.

Photo

Dorothy I. Height stands feet away from Dr. King as he speaks to thousands during his “I Have a Dream” speech on Aug. 28, 1963.

Credit
Associated Press

Dorothy I. Height
Dorothy I. Height was a few feet away from Dr. King on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. As president of the National Council of Negro Women, she was part of an elite group of organization presidents — including Dr. King; John Lewis, then the president of SNCC; and Whitney Young, executive director of the National Urban League — called “The Big Six.” But photographers would often crop her out of pictures — or even request her removal while shooting, said Karsonya Whitehead, an associate professor at Loyola University in Maryland. “She was asked to step aside,” Ms. Whitehead said.

Photo

Juanita Jones Abernathy with Lloyd Hawk of the Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta on March 31, 2013.

Credit
Bryan Meltz for The New York Times

Juanita Jones Abernathy
Many historians pinpoint the start of the civil rights movement as the arrest of Rosa Parks — the secretary of the N.A.A.C.P. in Montgomery, Ala., whose refusal to give up her seat on a segregated bus prompted the Montgomery bus boycott. But it was Juanita Jones Abernathy who answered the phone call with news of the arrest, said her son, Kwame Abernathy. The rest, her son said, “is literally history,” as she became intimately involved in the movement and survived the bombing of her home with her two children. Once asked by an interviewer about the role of women in the movement, Ms. Abernathy said, “The men ran the movement, but we were the actual bodies that made it happen.”

Photo

Dorothy Cotton, left, and Septima Clark, in Wilcox County, Ala., in 1966.

Credit
Bob Fitch Archive/Stanford University Library

Septima Clark
Months before Ms. Parks took her seat on that bus, she attended workshops to learn about civic engagement at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tenn., an integrated grass-roots leadership school for adults. It was Septima Clark — sometimes called the “grandmother” or the “queen mother” of the movement — who developed those workshops, as well as literacy and citizenship programs, which were critical to combating Jim Crow laws that prevented black people from voting. A native of Charleston, S.C., Ms. Clark had landed at Highlander after being fired from a teaching job because she refused to resign from her local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. She later developed citizenship programs — where educators trained volunteers to help register black voters — for S.C.L.C.

Photo

Dorothy Cotton teaching a citizenship education class in Alabama, 1966.

Credit
Bob Fitch Archive/Stanford University Library

Dorothy Cotton
Dorothy Cotton rose from administrative assistant to one of the highest-ranking women in the S.C.L.C. — placing her inside Dr. King’s inner circle. Alongside Ms. Clark, she taught students how to peacefully protest even as people taunted them, pushed them and threatened their lives. She was a supervisor of teacher training in what came to be known as the citizenship schools, including Highlander. “People would come into my workshops, 30 or 40 people,” said Ms. Cotton, now 87 and living in Ithaca, N.Y. “When they left, they knew what nonviolence was about.”

Photo

Ella Baker speaks on behalf of the SCLC at a news conference on Jan. 3, 1968.

Credit
Jack Harris/Associated Press

Ella Baker

Ella Baker was a field secretary and branch director of the N.A.A.C.P. who moved to Atlanta in 1957 to help organize for the S.C.L.C., working to ensure that the Montgomery bus boycott continued as a movement for change, not a moment in time. But Ms. Baker was not always in agreement with Dr. King or the other ministers who made up the S.C.L.C.: She believed in bottom-up grass-roots organizing, not top-down autocracy. In 1960, she convened a landmark meeting at Shaw University in Raleigh, N.C., for student leaders of the lunch counter sit-ins, and encouraged them to form their own organization. It would become SNCC, headed by John Lewis, now a longtime Congressman.

Photo

Bernice Johnson Reagon performs in 1963 with the Freedom Singers, an a cappella group that raised money for SNCC. From left: Charles Neblett, Ms. Reagon, her husband Cordell Reagon and Rutha Harris.

Credit
Joe Alper

Bernice Johnson Reagon

As a student at Albany State College in Georgia, Bernice Johnson Reagon was expelled because of her activism (or “behavior unbecoming a student of Albany State College,” she said in a recent phone interview). She would go on to become a leader in the movement, who later formed the award-winning a cappella group, Sweet Honey in the Rock. In an interview, Ms. Reagon, who is also a historian, said she could recall her teachings from Ms. Clark, Ms. Cotton and Ms. Baker at the Highlander school, and was inspired by Ms. Baker to write “Ella’s Song,” a cry of determination put to a melody. The lyrics borrow from a statement made by Ms. Baker in 1964: “Until the killing of black men, black mothers’ sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother’s son, we who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens.”

Photo

Fannie Lou Hamer speaks to Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party sympathizers outside the Capitol in Washington on Sept. 17, 1965.

Credit
William J. Smith/Associated Press

Fannie Lou Hamer

A sharecropper who joined SNCC in 1962, Fannie Lou Hamer was fired from her farming job after she tried to register to vote in Mississippi. She drew national attention when she helped found the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party to oppose an all-white delegation from Mississippi at the Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. She testified at a committee meeting at the convention despite an impromptu news conference held by President Lyndon B. Johnson intended to block her testimony from being televised. It is remembered as one of the most powerful speeches of the movement. “All of this is on account of we want to register, to become first-class citizens,” she said. “And if the Freedom Democratic Party is not seated now, I question America. Is this America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, where we have to sleep with our telephones off the hooks because our lives be threatened daily, because we want to live as decent human beings, in America?”

Continue reading the main story

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Expansion Project Hits the Skids


The story of how something that began as a $25 million renovation of an old football stadium became an $1 billion, mixed-use mega-project is about two long-connected entities — local officials in Canton and Hall of Fame boosters — each hoping they could help solve each other’s problems.

Canton, an hour south of Cleveland in the heart of a region that has suffered hundreds of thousands of lost jobs in manufacturing during the past 50 years, needed something big to help boost the local economy. The Pro Football Hall of Fame, needed local support to become something more than a museum near a declining stadium. The Hall attracts 225,000 visitors annually, but many of them come on a single weekend in early August.

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The annual induction ceremony for the Pro Football Hall of Fame attracts the largest crowds of the year to Canton, Ohio.

Credit
Dustin Franz for The New York Times

No one will ever confuse Canton with Cooperstown, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, a picturesque town and well-known summer opera destination, with nearby ski areas and lakes that combine to make it a year-round destination for people who never set foot into the baseball museum. But if the Pro Football Hall of Fame can bring hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment to Canton, as well as millions of visitors, it could have a transformative effect on the city.

Bill Krueger, whose company performed an economic impact study about the project, told the Canton Repository in 2015 the development could be a “game changer” for not only “our local and regional economy, but all of Northeast Ohio.”

Dateline for an Origin Story

What would become the National Football League was founded in 1920, at a Canton car dealership. Jim Thorpe was elected its first president, and the Canton Bulldogs won two early championships. Financial troubles and the city’s small size caused the Bulldogs to fold in 1927, but Canton’s place at the heart of the game was secured in 1963, when the Pro Football Hall of Fame opened in town.

For the next 50 years, the Hall of Fame existed as a museum next to a small stadium — owned by the local school district — that attracted football enthusiasts and the N.F.L. once a year for its induction ceremony and preseason game. Then four years ago, the Hall of Fame announced a plan for a $25 million stadium upgrade, with the possibility of additional development.

In 2015, the Hall of Fame unveiled an expanded plan for what had become a $476 million Hall of Fame Village. An economic development report commissioned by the Hall projected a completion date of 2019, 1 million visitors by 2020 and 3 million by 2025.

Months later, the complete rebuilding of Tom Benson Stadium began. The old Fawcett Stadium was renamed after the late owner of the New Orleans Saints when he donated $11 million toward construction. Much of that work was completed in time for an unveiling ceremony at the 2017 Hall of Fame game in August, though construction in one end of the stadium remains incomplete. The rebuild has cost at least $150 million so far.

Laborers worked double shifts and on weekends to get the stadium ready for the Hall of Fame game. Then, in September, contractors working on the stadium only received 60 percent of what they were owed, according to John Ross, an attorney for four of the contractors. In January, the contractors filed liens against the project.

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North Canton Mayor David Held at the the Hoover District project in his town. The project has been stalled for two years. A developer in the Hoover project is involved in the Hall of Fame Village project in nearby Canton.

Credit
Andrew Spear for The New York Times

By early February, at least 18 mostly small and local contractors had filed over $8 million in liens. Not getting paid caused a “negative cascading effect on the finances” of the contractors he represents, said Ross.

I.R.G. finally paid the contractors last week. Ross said a number of them had gotten involved in the project because of its importance to Canton, but they will be hesitant to perform work on the Hall of Fame Village in the future without adequate assurances of sufficient funding.

The contractors were paid days after I.R.G. closed on an up-to-$100 million short-term loan for the project. The loan was provided by Great American Capital Partners, a Los Angeles-based finance company. Great American didn’t respond to messages requesting comment on the loan.

Financing documents filed with local authorities show about $35 million in funding for the stadium renovation is coming from various public sources. Another $13 million comes from donations made by Tom Benson and various foundations.

The project also no longer has a $476 million price tag. C. David Baker, the Hall president, has begun calling it a billion dollar development, with most of the work yet to be completed. It isn’t clear if private funding can cover the costs, leading to discussions among local officials about potentially having to increase sales taxes to help fund the project. Such concerns dominated a recent meeting of local elected officials on economic development.

Richard Regula and Bill Smith, two of the three county commissioners who would have to approve a tax increase, said they are against it.

“I know how the N.F.L. works,” Regula said, “and sometimes they rely on the local community to build them stadiums and things like that, and we simply can’t do that here in Stark County.”

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Developer Stuart Lichter in August at the construction site of a new hotel at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Contractors recently filed liens after they weren’t paid in full for months.

Credit
Nathan C. Ward for The New York Times

Commissioner Janet Creighton could not be reached for comment.

N.F.L. Commissioner Roger Goodell and six N.F.L. owners are members of the Hall of Fame’s board of trustees. The N.F.L. did not respond to a request for comment.

A Lesson Nearby?

One of the biggest concerns about the project is that what is happening in nearby North Canton will happen to the Hall of Fame Village, too.

In 2007, the Hoover Company left North Canton for good, taking with them 2,400 jobs, contributing to a 25 percent loss of income tax revenue and leaving a 70-acre factory site empty. The next year Maple Street Investors — a partnership between Stuart Lichter, the president of I.R.G., and two local developers — bought the site of the former Hoover plant for $5 million.

By 2013 they had partially refurbished the site, retrofitting office and industrial space. About 1,100 people now work in the reimagined Hoover District. Much of that refurbishment was paid for by the public. Two grants from the state of Ohio accounted for about $5.8 million of the estimated $7 million of infrastructure work, Held, the North Canton mayor said. He considers this initial phase of construction a major success.

“We want them to succeed,” Held said. “When they succeed, it brings more jobs and revenue to the city.”

Developers were supposed to complete the second, much larger, phase of the project — which would include housing, restaurants and retail — by the end of 2015, but it is nowhere near done. Held said the developers conducted “a lot of promotion of the project, but they would start, and stop, and start, and stop.” He spent the end of 2017 imploring the developers to remove plywood from empty windows and put in glass, to make the site less of an eyesore, and to bring the buildings that had received work in compliance with building codes.

The $50 million second phase was supposed to be funded, at least in part, with $36 million from a federal program.

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The site of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village promises better days ahead.

Credit
Andrew Spear for The New York Times

CMB Infrastructure Investment Group, which invested $36 million in the project, filed a lawsuit against Maple Street Investors and Lichter in 2016, claiming they violated federal rules governing the funding.

According to the complaint, just two days after receiving the funds, Maple Street Investors “diverted at least $25,000,000 of the Loan proceeds.” CMB argued the $25 million went to intermediaries and was eventually lent to I.R.G., to complete the development of a former Goodyear campus in nearby Akron, Ohio.

In court documents Lichter’s attorneys said $19.8 million of the money went to a company controlled solely by Lichter, and $16.2 million to a company controlled solely by Christopher Semarjian, one of his partners in the Hoover project. The attorneys could not provide a full accounting of the money because it was “commingled with unrelated funds,” but they said in court documents the two companies have continued to repay Maple Street Investors, which Lichter said CMB’s chief executive told him was allowed.

In early January CMB and Maple Street Investors entered into a settlement agreement, and the lawsuit has been set aside for now. The agreement stipulated that Lichter and Maple Street Investors had 60 days to “pursue financing from a nonaffiliated commercial lender to pay a portion of the settlement amount” and 90 days to close the loan.

John Christie, a lawyer for CMB, declined to comment on the status of the case, or whether Maple Street Investors has obtained the money, though the 60 days have already passed.

Some local officials want to to know why the N.F.L. isn’t more involved in the process.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is a nonprofit that is separate from the N.F.L. According to its most recent tax filing, in 2015 the organization had $29 million in revenue. About $9.5 million came from contributions; $5 million from government grants, and $4.5 million from unnamed contributors. According to the Canton Repository, the Hall of Fame has received “tens of millions” from the N.F.L. over the years.

The N.F.L. has also been an enthusiastic supporter of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village. Goodell is good friends with Baker, who was formerly the commissioner of the Arena Football League, and has said he wants the league “to play a role in how this comes out.” The league will have office space in the completed village, and there is also a combined Cleveland/Canton bid to host the 2019 or 2020 N.F.L. Draft. N.F.L. owners will choose the draft sites in May.

Held believes the N.F.L. should take more responsibility for the development, and ensure no more public money is spent on it.

“Before you put a shovel in the ground, it is just good business practice to make sure you have your short and long-term financing in place,” he added. “Clearly, that was not done. It was either overbuilt, underfunded, or a combination of both.”

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