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LEASE DISAGREEMENT ESCALATES BETWEEN STARS, DALLAS
Published January 20, 1995
The Dallas City Council voted Wednesday to tell the Stars they will face a lawsuit if they fail to sign a long-term lease to play at Reunion Arena or any future site owned by the city. The Stars, who have been playing in Reunion under a letter of agreement since their move to Dallas before last season, want the same lease terms as the Mavericks, which the city refuses. Council Member Glenn Box says the $65M the Mavs have promised to invest in a new arena gives them "most-favored nation status": "You cannot have two prime tenants. ... It's a fundamental conflict." Stars President Jim Lites says it was the city that "changed terms" on the initial agreement: "We signed a letter of agreement when we came here in March, very detailed on what the Stars' relationship would be with the Dallas Mavericks and the city of Dallas. ... And we're not giving anything back." Lites added the Mavericks' deal to pay the same rent in a new building as they do in Reunion is not something the Stars enjoy: "We could be forced to be a tenant on very bad terms." Council member Don Hicks has threatened the Stars with his own ultimatum: "Either they sign the lease or we're going to kick them out of here." Lites' response: "When a council member says 'We're out of here,' that's totally irresponsible. It creates an atmosphere that's not conducive to selling tickets." The city attorney's office is expected to deliver "final" proposed lease to the team next week (Barry Shlachter, FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM, 1/20).