Kansas City Chiefs Owner Clark Hunt To Appear For a Video Deposition In the Rams Relocation Lawsuit
On Wednesday,, the Plaintiffs in the matter of the St. Louis Regional Convention And Sports Complex Authority v. National Football League, have served upon the National Football League (“NFL”), a Notice of Video Deposition for Kansas City Chiefs part owner, chairman and CEO Clark Hunt. This is the latest development in the contentious litigation, which has recently seen several prominent NFL owners sanctioned by St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Christopher McGraugh. Judge McGraugh fined four NFL team owners for failing to comply with his July order to turn over financial information.
The Court previously fined New York Giants owner John Mara $8,000, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones $6,000, and ordered Clark Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs and Robert Kraft of the New England Patriots to pay $5,000 each. All four also were ordered to pay a total of $25,000 in fees to the plaintiff’s attorneys, according to the court order.
Hunt, Jones, Kraft, Mara and Richardson were part of the NFL committee that handled relocation efforts at the time of the Rams move. Their attorneys told the Supreme Court that “after years of discovery” the plaintiffs offered no evidence that these owners “engaged in any behavior that could possibly give rise to tort liability.” The Court rejected the requests without comment. Attorneys for the owners and the NFL have yet to comment.
“I don’t think your clients are acting with good intentions,” Judge McGraugh told NFL attorney Benjamin Razi during the hearing, according to Bloomberg. On October 19, 2021, the NFL paid the sanctions totaling of $25,000.
This case was initially brought in connection with the Rams’ 2016 relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles. Plaintiffs sued based on their status as third-party beneficiaries of the NFL’s Policy and Procedures for Proposed Franchise Relocations (the “NFL Policy”). St. Louis officials are seeking financial damages they claim they suffered when the Rams moved to Los Angeles in 2016. The move left St. Louis with debt on the team’s former stadium, which built with public funds.
The suit claims Los Angeles Rams Owner Kroenke and Jones allegedly conspired “to develop a plan to relocate the Rams to Los Angeles and convincing the other member-teams to approve the relocation.” The suit also alleges Kroenke and Jones discussed SoFi Stadium site plans in Inglewood, California, as far back as 2013.
The lawsuit alleges St. Louis lost between $1.85 million to $3.5 million per year in amusement and ticket tax collections. It added that roughly $7.5 million was lost in property tax and $1.4 million in sales tax, totaling over $100 million in revenue for the city.
The suit also claims the County of St. Louis also lost hotel, property, and sales tax revenue after the Rams relocated. The impact on the state totals more than $15 million. The lawsuit used figures from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.
The Court has scheduled a Motion hearing on Friday, December 3, 2021, with a Jury Trial slated for Monday, January 10, 2022.