Interior of the Edward Jones Dome, the former home of the former St. Louis Rams. Image via Wikimedia Commons.
The City and County of St. Louis are both suing the National Football League over last year's relocation of the Rams football franchise to Los Angeles.
Both governments joined the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) in the lawsuit, which was filed against the NFL and all 57 of the NFL’s team owners in the St. Louis Circuit Court on April 12, according to the Kansas City Business Journal. City, county and state taxpayer dollars fund the RSA.
According to the lawsuit, the St. Louis area has lost up to $3.5 million in amusement and ticket tax revenue as a result of the Rams moving to Los Angeles, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. The suit says the region has also lost about $1.4 million in sales tax revenues, $7.5 million in property tax revenues and “millions” in earning taxes.
The plaintiffs state the following in the lawsuit, per The New York Times:
“The N.F.L., through its member teams and the votes of the teams’ owners, approved the relocation of the Rams despite the failure of the Rams franchise to meet its obligations under the relocation policy or even to offer a credible, persuasive statement of reasons concerning the factors set out in the relocation policy... In doing so, the N.F.L., through its member teams, and the owners failed to apply and enforce the policy’s standards and procedures.”
Additional damages included in the lawsuit were $360 million in county and city bond obligations, losses of over $100 million in net proceeds, $30 million for a new playing surface’s installation and other renovations and over $15 million in lost state revenue, according to Reuters.
The NFL, however, feels the lawsuit is unjustified. "There is no legitimate basis for this litigation. While we understand the disappointment of the St. Louis fans and the community, we worked diligently with local and state officials in a process that was honest and fair at all times,” NFL Spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email, per the Business Journal. The Rams franchise did not comment on the lawsuit.
The causes for action in the suite are breach of contract, unjust enrichment and fraudulent misrepresentation against all defendants, the Post-Dispatch reports. The suit also accuses the Rams and Rams owner Stan Kroenke of fraudulent misrepresentation, and it accuses all defendants except for the Rams of tortious interference with business expectancy.