Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

State Senate Committee Wonders about Stadium Lease

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

State Senate Committee Wonders about Stadium Lease

Article excerpt

The St. Louis NFL Partnership's control of a football stadium lease could keep a professional team from moving to St. Louis until 1997, the Missouri Senate Appropriations Committee was told Wednesday.

Lawrence Akley, executive director of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, told the committee that the corporation had the exclusive right to lease the stadium for pro football until two years after completion of the 70,000-seat indoor arena.

Those holding an interest in the lease include Jerry Clinton and James Busch Orthwein. Fran Murray formerly was involved.

Since completion is scheduled for October 1995, the corporation would retain control of the lease until October 1997. Whoever would want to play professional football in the stadium before then would have to deal with the corporation for use of the stadium, Akley said.

Sen. Wayne Goode, D-Pasadena Hills, asked why a contingency clause was not included in the agreement saying that in the event the partnership could not get a team, the lease reverted to the authority to give another team a chance.

"Nobody at the time was alarmed about the intricacies of the lease," Akley said.

"If anybody was going to get a team, it had to be them. It was really to help them have the financial wherewithal to finance this team."

Goode responded: "How we ever got into a lease like this in which it doesn't end when they do not get a football team is a real mistake on the part of the people who put that together."

In St. Louis, former County Executive H.C. Milford said in an interview Wednesday that state and county officials were reluctant to make the deal in 1990 without such a clause but in the end agreed because "there was no other group" involved then.

As the Senate committee grilled Akley on the stadium lease, the Rev. Larry Rice stood a few steps away in the state Capitol rotunda calling for an end in state funding for a professional football stadium in St. …

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