ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A lawsuit seeks to cut off public funding for the renovation of Scottrade Center.
Alderwoman Cara Spencer filed the suit, saying the city violated the Missouri Constitution when it agreed to use public money on a for-profit business.
“The state constitution is very clear,” Spencer said. “We cannot use taxpayer money to fund private investment, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here.”
In February, the Board of Aldermen approved a plan that would obligate taxpayers to pay off $105 million in bonds over 30 years to pay for repairs and a modern score board at Scottrade Center.
Spencer believes aldermen were duped into believing the city is under obligation to pay for upkeep of the building. She claims the lease has it the other way around.
“The city was absolutely not obligated to upgrade this facility or maintain it in any way,” Spencer said. “It’s very clear in the lease that that obligation fell solely on the shoulders of the ownership group.”
The City Counselor’s officer released a statement saying it will, “vigorously defend the City, its ordinances and agreements.”
KMOX left messages with the St. Louis Blues seeking reaction, but no one was immediately available for comment.
Downtown Alderman Jack Coatar, who is not a party to the suit, is predicting it will be thrown out of court.
“This doesn’t violate the state constitution,” Coatar said. “The case law is clear on that, and this is the same group of folks who consistently sue the city and consistently lose their financing cases.”
In addition to Spencer, the plaintiffs in the suit include former state House Rep. Jeannette Oxford, and former city counselor James Wilson.