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St. Louis Wants Two-Thirds of the Settlement Money

According to St. Louis’s NBC affiliate, KSDK, the city is seeking two-thirds of the $513 million the city received after attorney fees from their settlement with the NFL. St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the Regional and Stadium Authority (RSA) settled on November 24, 2021, for $790 million after they sued the NFL over the Los Angeles Rams’ departure, specifically how the NFL covered up Rams’ owner Stan Kroenke’s plan for leaving St. Louis as early as 2013 after he found ground in Inglewood, California that would bring the NFL back to Los Angeles three years later. The NFL knew about these relocation plans in 2013 thanks to a video call from Kroenke, which included Commissioner Roger Goodell, Relocation Director Eric Grubman, Pittsburgh Steelers' Art Rooney II, among other prominent figures. That lawsuit spanned four years from late 2018 to late 2021. The parties were going to trial, but they decided to settle.

St. Louis wanting two-thirds of the settlement money could be an issue, depending on how they put the money to use, and whether it helps the ongoing problems in St. Louis. Problems in St. Louis include cutting down on crime in the northeast part of downtown, near the Rams’ former home, the Dome at America’s Center.

The St. Louis Port Authority, according to CBS affiliate KMOV, announced plans to renovate “Chouteau’s Landing.”. The plans cost $1.2 billion, and they received approval from the St. Louis Port Authority. The St. Louis Port Authority entered into a redevelopment agreement with the Good Development Group on a $1.2 billion dollar redevelopment project south of downtown St. Louis. Developers say they’ve secured 50 acres for the Gateway South Project which will be south of the Poplar Street bridge and along the Mississippi River.

The project includes a residential district, which will have affordable housing as well as market housing. Developers say an entertainment district will benefit from three or four major national providers of entertainment. The project also includes an innovation district for the building design and construction industry.

The question sports fan in St. Louis, and the public in general, want to know is whether the Dome at America’s Center will be renovated. The XFL announced St. Louis will host a team in 2023. The team plays its games at the Dome at America’s Center. The Dome has not had any renovations since 2012, and those renovations were minor. They included a new video screen, a new field, and new clubs. The Dome has not hosted an NFL game since 2015. It needs renovations, and the Rams stressed this detail in their relocation argument. The money from this settlement needs to and should go to the Dome to renovate it prior to the Xtreme Football League’s (XFL) return to St. Louis. It is dilapidated, and St. Louis should set aside money for the Dome. The RSA is pushing for these renovations, but these reports make it seem like the RSA will not receive enough money from the settlement fund to renovate the Dome.

Hopefully, Mayor Jones realizes not only the Dome but that the St. Louis area needs money to bring it out of the crime issues it has had over the years. According to KMOV, it is the downtown area that has the most crimes. People do not visit that area like they used to when the Rams were in town. Even when the Rams were in town, the area started to become a black eye to downtown St. Louis. If St. Louis wants to redevelop the aforementioned area stated above, surely, they can redevelop the area around the Dome and the “Landing.” These areas were hotspots for tailgating before Rams games and for Battlehawk games from 1995-2015 and 2019 respectively. However, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the $513 million settlement will not go towards the RSA’s plan to expand the convention center, but there is no news regarding the Dome.

The one-third that remains is being negotiated among the city and the RSA. The RSA was the original party to sue the Rams and the NFL for contract breach, and all they wanted was $24 million for the breach, tortious interference, and the lies the NFL told them when they were told they had a fighting chance to keep the Rams. The city should give the RSA money to renovate the Dome prior to the 2023 XFL season.

History repeats itself, and although St. Louis was the number one market for the XFL in 2019 before COVID shut it down, could the XFL pull the plug in St. Louis due to stadium conditions and a poorly written lease?

Alex Patterson is a Thomas M. Cooley Law School graduate and works for Kerley and Talken PC as a paralegal. He played football for seventeen years as an offensive and defensive line

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