The city of St. Louis has countersued against the state of Missouri’s suit claiming that it doesn’t need the city’s permission to build a new Rams stadium with public money. The new counterclaim says that not only does an existing city law apply that requires a public vote on any new stadium expenditure, but the state stadium authority doesn’t have the right to build a stadium where it wants to anyway:
The state law that allowed for the building of the Jones Dome — and is being used to authorize construction of a new stadium — required the dome to be located “adjacent to an existing convention facility,” the counterclaim says.
But the proposed new stadium, the city’s filing argues, is “located on the other side of a road” from the America’s Center and the Jones Dome, where the city currently hosts conventions.
That’s a pretty hardball stance for the city to be taking, and maybe should be taken as an indication that the mayoral Gang of Four is starting to have influence in other cities as—
Mayor Francis Slay is publicly supportive of the new stadium. City Counselor Winston Calvert said this suit gives the city a chance to get answers sooner rather than later.
The counterclaim, he said, “is a reflection of the fact that everybody is ready to get these issues resolved and move on.”
Okay, or maybe not.
The concern that St. Louis officials aren’t really interested in fighting the state’s suit — even to the point of filing counterclaims just in hopes of getting them dismissed — is precisely why several St. Louis residents have filed a motion to intervene in the suit as defendents, fearing that the city isn’t really going to mount a defense. I spoke with one of those residents on Friday, former state representative Jeanette Mott Oxford, who explained that she has standing in this case because not only was she one of the original petitioners who got the referendum on the ballot, but she once stayed in a local hotel and paid the hotel taxes that would be diverted to fund the new stadium. The case should go to trial soon: Oxford mentioned a June 25 trial date, but that may have been a different lawsuit, there are so many. We haven’t yet seen the state or the city suing itself over this mess, but I expect it’s only a matter of time.