Taxpayers Fight St. Louis Football Stadium

ST. LOUIS (CN) – Two homeowners sued St. Louis on Monday, asking a city judge to bar the city from funding a new football stadium without a public hearing and vote.
     The city is trying to keep its NFL team from moving to Los Angeles.
     In their lawsuit, homeowners and taxpayers Jeannette Mott Oxford and Michael Chance asked the court to bar the city from funding the stadium until a fiscal note is prepared and a public hearing and vote are held.
     It was the second such lawsuit in five days. On Thursday, Mott Oxford sued the Regional Convention and Sports Complex, claiming it violated the Sunshine Law by not giving her records she requested on the stadium project.
     The Regional Convention and Sports Complex wants to fund a portion of the stadium, which could cost as much as $1 billion, by extending the bonds used to pay for the Edwards Jones Dome, the Rams’ home.
     Pro-stadium interests claim no public vote is necessary to extend the bond since it will not present an additional burden to taxpayers.
     But the stadium proposal faces several legal challenges.
     Aside from the two lawsuits filed by Mott Oxford, six legislators sued Gov. Jay Nixon in Cole County Court, home to the state capital, claiming he was illegally spending taxpayer money on the stadium.
     The Regional Convention and Sports Complex also filed for declaratory relief, claiming a 2002 St. Louis ordinance passed that requires a public vote before the city can fund the development of a professional sports facility is vague and overly broad.
     Mott Oxford is one of three interveners in that lawsuit, defending the law. A hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled for Thursday.
     In the latest complaint, Mott Oxford and Chance cite the same 2002 law that the Regional Convention and Sports Complex has challenged.
     “As of the date of filing this action, defendant City of St. Louis has indicated, through its officials, that it has no plans to prepare a fiscal note regarding the expenses for a proposed new stadium, or for a public hearing or public vote under the current proposal for financing of the new facility unless ‘new taxes’ are imposed,” the new complaint states. “The City Ordinance requires a fiscal note, public hearing and public vote before any financial assistance is provided, not just through ‘new taxes.'”
     The plaintiffs are represented by John Ammann of the Saint Louis University Legal Clinic.
     Courthouse News obtained the lawsuit late Tuesday and was unable to get comment from St. Louis officials.

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