St. Louis Circuit Judge Thomas Frawley ruled that the law from 2002 was confusing and therefore voided a city ordinance that required voter approval for the use of tax dollars for any project involving a professional sports facility. The members of Governor Jay Nixon’s stadium task force call it a major victory for the city, while one law professor calls it a “terrible day.”
Judge Frawley ruled that the new stadium plan on St. Louis’ north riverfront does not break a state law requiring it to be “adjacent” to the city’s convention center. Frawley ruled that Missouri courts have determined that “adjacent” simply means nearby.
Dave Peacock, the former Anheuser-Busch executive who is part of a Nixon’s two-person stadium task force released a statement calling it a victory.
“As we continue to make excellent progress on the stadium project, this is a great time for everyone in the St. Louis region to rally on behalf of something that will make a difference in our economy, national profile and quality of life for generations to come,” Peacock said.
However, not all see it as such. John Ammann, a law professor at Saint Louis University, who filed a separate suit that sought a city vote on the stadium plan, called it a defeat for democracy.
“The voters and taxpayers now have no formal voice in whether they will pay for a new stadium, or how much,” Ammann said.
The ruling comes ahead of an August 11th meeting when the St. Louis task force will meet with NFL officials in Chicago. With the Rams, along with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, seeking moves to Los Angeles, the league could make a decision soon.
Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning a new stadium in Inglewood, a suburb of Los Angeles, with the possibility the team will move back to Southern California, as early as 2016.