St. Louis law prof threatens lawsuit to force vote on city funding for Rams stadium

The question of whether the voter-approved law requiring a referendum before the city of St. Louis spends any money on a new Rams stadium isn’t going to be left up to elected officials to decide: St. Louis University law school professor John Ammann and three students have promised to sue the city if it tries to spend any money on the project without a public vote.

Ammann said he believes any city assistance — even vacating streets — will trigger a city law requiring a public vote.

“If one person at City Hall is working on this, well, then that’s financial assistance for the project,” Ammann said. “The law is pretty broad. It says ‘direct’ or ‘indirect.’”

This has been the likely outcome ever since it was revealed that Gov. Jay Nixon’s plan for funding the stadium was to have the city take over bond payments on the old stadium (which, under this theory, is grandfathered because it was approved before the referendum law) and use the state money thus freed up to pay for a new one. Still, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is fairly freaking out, concluding that “If the city has to hold a public vote before devoting its $6 million, NFL owners could question the plan’s legitimacy.” Foolish humans! Legitimate plans are not voted on by the people! They are imposed by the galactic emperor!


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