Updated: Aug 6
It’s Hail Mary time! Well legally speaking for Rams owner Stan Kroenke and his constituents as they continue to fight their legal battle with the city of St. Louis. The team has now filed a writ of prohibition under seal to the Missouri Appellate Court to have the trial moved out of the plaintiff’s hometown. The trial, which is set for January 2022 had an appeal already seen by Circuit Judge Christopher McGraugh. The motion set forth by the Rams and the NFL to move the trial location back in September was denied. Now the writ of prohibition that was filed is a last ditch effort by the defendants to block McGraugh’s actions and prove that he exceeded his authority.
Since the writ of prohibition was filed under seal, it is unclear exactly what evidence was given to the Appellate Court. Attorneys familiar with the case have speculated that an opinion poll/survey gauging the residents disdain for Kroenke and the NFL would have been presented. Hoping with the results of dramatic unpopularity and anger would be able to sway the Appellate Court to rule that the location had “actual prejudice” towards the defendants in the trial.
It is not just Kroenke whose feet are being held to the fire in this lawsuit. Of course he is the face on the dartboard for the fans in the St. Louis area, but Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has also been linked in the conspiring plans of moving the Rams back to LA. CNBC.com reported that Jones and Kroenke had talks to move the team back West as early as 2013 and the lawsuit states that Jones was key in flipping the other core member owners into approving the move.
Now that the city of St. Louis and the long suffering fans finally have Kroenke and his conspirators pinned down; it would be unjust to move the trial outside of the place where the damage was done. Tom Hartbach, a former season ticket holder for the Rams and avid St. Louis sports fan had this to say when asked what his thoughts were on Kroenke trying to move his hearing to higher ground.
“I don’t think he should be able to, he flat out lied to us. He tried to portray this good ol’ Missouri boy but he was 100 percent just a businessman.” said Hartbach.
The story has begun to gain national attention but in St. Louis the fans’ disgust for Kroenke has been around for years.
“Oh yeah, this is a regular topic on the St. Louis radio talk shows and it has been for years. Former players will call in and reflect on what they believed was going on, I’m positive (Jeff) Fisher knew about it when he took the job.”
Hartbach brings in yet another interesting dynamic and potential witness to be called to the stand under oath during the impending trial. Former head coach Jeff Fisher could be called to testify about if he had any knowledge of Kroenke’s intentions to move the team out to Los Angeles while they were “still negotiating a compromise in St. Louis.”
Another set of eyes that should pay close attention to the pending legal battle in St. Louis is those of the Pegula family, the longtime owners of the Buffalo Bills. Cities such as Austin, Texas and San Diego have been floated as potential new landing spots for the team but one can be certain that the folks in “Bills Mafia” would put up the fight of their life to keep the team in Orchard Park, NY. There has been some speculation that since the team’s contract with their stadium is up in 2022 a move could be on the horizon.
“I believe they thought money and power would take care of the entire thing," remarked Hartbach when asked about if he thought Kroenke had any remorse for his lies to the fan base and the city.
If he didn’t he sure does now because the fury of St. Louis faithful will be alive and well in that courtroom come January.