Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawsuit Threatened If St. Louis Helps Pay for New NFL Stadium

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Lawsuit Threatened If St. Louis Helps Pay for New NFL Stadium

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * A St. Louis University law professor and three students have demanded the city of St. Louis reveal plans to use public money to pay for a new downtown football stadium, and schedule a public vote, or expect a lawsuit.

The letter threatens to further cloud the financing of Gov. Jay Nixon's $985 million riverfront arena proposal, and the hopes of keeping the NFL in St. Louis.

The students, along with SLU law school professor and legal clinic supervisor John Ammann, sent a letter on Monday to City Counselor Winston Calvert on behalf of their client, William White.

Ammann said he believes any city assistance even vacating streets will trigger a city law requiring a public vote.

"If one person at City Hall is working on this, well, then that's financial assistance for the project," Ammann said. "The law is pretty broad. It says 'direct' or 'indirect.'"

Ammann said White, who used to be homeless, is a client at the clinic and expressed his frustration that the city might spend millions of dollars on a new stadium without setting aside any extra for social services. White, according to the SLU letter, wants the city to consider using 2 percent of the city's stadium funding for homeless services.

Ammann said White agreed to put his name on the letter. White was not made available for comment.

Nixon's two-man stadium team, David Peacock and Robert Blitz, did not reply to requests for comment.

Jeff Rainford, Slay's former chief of staff who remains the mayor's consultant on keeping the Rams in St. Louis, said Tuesday that scheduling a vote on financing is premature and may not be necessary.

"As far as a vote goes, it remains to be seen," Rainford said at a lunch in Clayton for commercial real estate professionals. "We don't have the final finance plans, so we don't really know yet whether or not that (vote) will be a requirement. …

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