SBD/Issue 163/Facilities & Venues

Portune Seeks Fortune For Taxpayers In Suit Vs. Bengals, NFL

Bengals, NFL Sued By OH County Official

Hamilton Co. (OH) Commissioner Todd Portune "sued the Bengals and the [NFL] on Friday, claiming the league violated federal antitrust laws when it 'extorted' more than $450[M] from taxpayers to build Paul Brown Stadium," according to Dan Horn of the CINCINNATI ENQUIRER. The suit "accuses the NFL of using a monopoly over professional football to secure favorable stadium deals from Cincinnati and other communities." Portune, who filed individually as a "taxpayer's lawsuit" in U.S. District Court, is "seeking damages of more than $200[M] on behalf of county taxpayers and seeks to triple those damages if a judge finds the NFL violated federal antitrust rules." Portune: "They pushed those buttons to manipulate the public into doing these stadium deals." The suit alleges that teams claimed new stadiums were needed "to remain competitive when in fact the only purpose ... was to increase the profits of team owners." Portune noted that the county's stadium lease "stuck taxpayers with millions in cost overruns while giving the team too much control over development around the stadium" (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER, 5/17).

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