Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scottrade Center Lawsuit to Be Dropped as Part of Settlement

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Scottrade Center Lawsuit to Be Dropped as Part of Settlement

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * A lawsuit to halt the public financing of Scottrade Center renovations has been settled between the owners of the Blues and the plaintiffs suing them, according to documents released Saturday.

With the lawsuit apparently resolved, Blues spokesman Jeff Rainford said the owners believe there are no more hurdles to executing the $64 million finance agreement approved by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen in February.

However, Comptroller Darlene Green remains intent on appealing a judge's order that forced her to sign the agreement last Monday.

Otis Williams, who oversees the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority that obtains the bonds for the project, said the agency will begin the process of securing the funding.

Williams, the executive director of St. Louis Development Corp., said it may be as late as March before the funding is actually secured.

"We essentially stopped the process when the lawsuit was filed, so now we'll move ahead without delay," Williams said.

The settlement assures that the plaintiffs against the Blues Alderman Cara Spencer, former state Rep. Jeanette Oxford and former City Counselor Jim Wilson will dismiss their lawsuit and not take further legal action.

In return, the Blues agreed not to seek attorney fees or other associated court costs from the plaintiffs, who filed suit in August to challenge the constitutionality of publicly funding the work on the downtown arena.

The agreement also requires Spencer give up her attempts at the Board of Aldermen to come up with a new financing plan for Scottrade Center renovations.

In September, Spencer filed a bill that would have asked voters to approve a ticket tax that would have been the sole source of funding for the renovations. That's an alternative to the mix of tax and general fund revenue under the agreement passed in February.

The settlement also bars Wilson, Oxford and former Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr. from further attempts to change or block the current financing agreement. …

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