Uncertainty remains over how Rams settlement money will be divided in St. Louis

Published: Mar. 1, 2022 at 1:45 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A Rams win in Los Angeles is now stirring up questions about when St. Louis will finally reap the benefits of its lawsuit settlement against the Ram’s franchise, and how will all that cash be divided amongst the parties involved.

Back in November 2021, St. Louis City, County and the city’s Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) signed a $790 million dollar settlement agreement with the National Football League and Rams owner Stan Kroenke for the financial impact on the team’s decision to leave St. Louis back in 2016. After attorney fees, the St. Louis metro received a $513 million dollar cut, but that money still has not been put to use or divided amongst the parties.

“Two weeks ago, the county council had a meeting with the county councilors office, and we asked for an update on the status of the Rams/NFL settlement, and the county attorney said we can’t talk to you about it,” said Tim Fitch, District 3 Councilman for St. Louis County.

Both St. Louis city and county spokespersons tell News 4 negotiations over the settlement money are still ongoing between the three entities involved.

County council members tell News 4 they have not been in the loop on discussions about the money, which they say is not fair to their constituents.

“I really just want the public to know that we’re doing the best we can with the limited information that we have,” said Rita Heard Days, Chair of the St. Louis County Council. “We have asked for meetings, and we have asked to have updates on the process. What’s going on? How much we’re going to get? Are there any kinds of parameters around this money? And we’ve really been told nothing.”

Neither city nor county officials have provided a timeline on when these mediations over the settlement money will be reached.

A spokesperson for the city’s Board of Alderman President, Lewis Reed, tells News 4 their leadership have also not been included in the negotiation process, even though whatever is decided on how to spend the money has to go through the BOA.

A spokesperson for the county executive tells News 4 the county counselor negotiates all civil legal matters for St. Louis County, and they cannot comment on mediation until the issue is resolved.

“Although we do believe the county executive is being briefed and is part of the negotiation, it’s just that they’ve not allowed the council to be a part of that conversation,” said Fitch.

“I just think it’s not good government if you will that everything is in secrecy, and your council who is going to be responsible for those funds is not aware,” said Days.

Fitch is also at odds with County Executive Sam Page’s recent decision to appoint someone to the RSA board, which oversees the Dome America’s Center, without council approval.

“We approved one of the members, Amy Fischer, 5-0, and then when Charlie Dooley, who was the second member brought forward for confirmation, the council turned him down by a vote of three no’s and two yes’s,” said Fitch. “So his confirmation failed...”

Fitch says over the weekend he sent a letter to the attorney general’s office and St. Louis’s prosecuting attorney asking them to stop the county executive’s pick for the RSA board, calling the move to still appoint Dooley illegal. He tells News 4 he has not received a response yet.

As far as what county and city leaders want to see done with the money once they have it, Fitch and Days say on the county side they have to see how much they have to work with and whether there are any restrictions on what it can be used for.

Fitch says he does not think the money should be split three ways evenly.

“I do believe the RSA should receive an additional 18 million dollars, over and above what the other two entities, the city and the county, receive because they actually financed the riverfront stadium proposal,” said Fitch. “It was an 18-million-dollar expenditure. So, to make them whole, they should receive a third of the funds plus 18 million, and I think the other two entities should receive the other two-thirds.”

News 4 reached out to the RSA for comment on the lawsuit settlement and have not heard back.