ST. LOUIS — Representatives from St. Louis, St. Louis County and the owner authority of The Dome at America’s Center have reached a tentative settlement on the division of the $519 million remaining in cash from the Rams’ relocation lawsuit. NFL.
A copy of the two-page interim agreement was released Tuesday by Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ office.
The city, where the Rams played their home games and which led the prosecution in 2015 to try to prevent the team from moving to Los Angeles, would get the largest chunk of the settlement money: $250 million.
St. Louis County, which made annual payments for the Dome and was a plaintiff in the lawsuit against the NFL and Rams but did not join the ill-fated attempt to build a new stadium on the river, was reportedly awarded $169 million.
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The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which owns the Dome and was the third plaintiff in the lawsuit, would get $70 million.
An additional $30 million would go to the city to appropriate the ongoing expansion of the America’s Center convention center, which was going over budget due to rising construction costs when the city and county issued bonds to begin construction at the beginning of this year.
If the St. Louis Board of Aldermen does not allocate the money for the convention center expansion by June 30, the $30 million will revert to the RSA.
Any approval of the deal now rests with RSA’s 11-member board, which has yet to approve it. It is made up of three appointees each from the city and county and five appointees from the state. Mayor Jones, County Executive Sam Page and the Governor. Mike Parson have all filled the board with their appointees.
City aldermen and the St. Louis County Council do not need to give final approval to the settlement.
The proposed pact was signed by RSA President Earl Nance Jr., who was reappointed to the board by Jones. But the RSA board earlier this month argued that the money was “set aside” for regional projects. Unanimously passed a motion to set aside money for regional projects. Only Nance abstained.
Some RSA members support investing the money in a trust fund-like structure and using the interest to fund projects in perpetuity.
City officials, however, cited state restrictions on investing public funds that could limit the return settlement money could receive from such a structure.
The proposed deal comes as the one-year anniversary of the $790 million deal the NFL and Rams agreed to as the years-long lawsuit over owner Stan Kroenke’s decision to move the team to Los Angeles threatened to put him and other NFL team owners through public trial on hostile ground in St. Louis.
Dowd Bennett’s attorneys and Blitz Bardgett & Deutsch, the law firms handling the case, were awarded more than $275 million in attorney fees. The remaining $512 million for the three plaintiffs is expected to grow to about $519.5 million by mid-January.
The lawsuit against the NFL and the Rams and the eventual settlement contained no guidelines on how to split the money. The city was said to have incurred the largest share due to the loss of tax revenue from the actual football matches and associated economic activity.
The RSA, for its part, depends on $4 million a year — half from Missouri and $1 million each from the city and county — to maintain the Dome under a deal that expires in 2024. The deal is It was seen as a way to keep the Dome, used for events and conventions at the attached America’s Center, long-term.
The region’s business-backed economic development promoter, Greater St. Louis Inc., in a statement Tuesday evening urged the three jurisdictions to invest the money”with a boldness that transcends jurisdictional boundaries and drives inclusive growth throughout Metro.” Greater St. Louis had previously floated the idea of a long-term endowment as a way to maximize the deal.
“We continue to believe that the three national models outlined in our recent white paper offer the best potential pathways to maximize the transformational potential of these one-time proceeds,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis. “These funds should be used intentionally and strategically to drive inclusive and catalytic growth in Metro .”