The Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums has issued a press release regarding the scheduled January 8 hearing for a lawsuit challenging the use of public funds for a new sports stadium in St. Louis without voter approval. Jeanette Mott Oxford, co-founder of the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums, has been executive director of Empower Missouri since October 1, 2012. Proper use of tax dollars for the common good is an issue area tracked by Empower Missouri’s Economic Justice Task Force, and our advocacy on this issue has taken place in each branch of government.
The text of the press release follows:
(ST. LOUIS) – A hearing is scheduled for next week on the lawsuit challenging public funds being spent on a new sports stadium in St. Louis without voter approval. It will be held Jan. 8, 2016 in Judge David Dowd’s court, Division 2 of the St. Louis Circuit Court. The hearing will be at 9:00 a.m.
The case is styled Jeanette Mott Oxford and Michael Chance v. City of St. Louis, Cause No. 1522-CC09952. Both Oxford and Chance are St. Louis residents and taxpayers.
A separate lawsuit over whether St. Louis residents can vote on taxpayer support for a new football stadium progressed last month with the filing of a brief by several St. Louis taxpayers in the Missouri Court of Appeals.
Three city residents, Jeanette Mott Oxford, William White and Earl Garret, sought to intervene in the case heard earlier this year but were denied. Now they are appealing.
“We hope the appeals court will uphold the democratic process and agree that voters have the right to vote on any public stadium funding,” said Jeanette Mott Oxford of the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums.
The Coalition put the mandates in place through the initiative process that require voter approval before any public funds can be spent for a sports stadium in St. Louis or St. Louis County. They were overwhelmingly supported by voters.
A $1 billion football stadium is being proposed for the St. Louis riverfront with the city of St. Louis providing about $150 million of the cost. Over $10 million of public funds have been spent so far on the proposed stadium. This includes legal fees, architectural and design services, property acquisition, etc.
In April the Regional Convention and Sports Authority brought suit against the city of St. Louis, challenging the ordinance that requires a fiscal note be prepared and a public hearing and public vote be held prior to any financial assistance for a new sports stadium.
Oxford, White and Garrett sought to intervene in the lawsuit, saying city voters could not be properly represented by the City Counselor. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay supports the stadium proposal. An August 6 decision by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Thomas Frawley sided with the sports authority and found the ordinance invalid. He denied intervention by the three city residents.
The litigation is being handled by attorneys James Wilson, Edward. J. Hanlon and Paul Lore. Saint Louis University Legal Clinic attorneys John J. Ammann and Brendan Roediger are also part of the legal team.