SBD/December 8, 2010/Franchises

City Releases Names Of MLB Cardinals Owners Who Sold Shares

Bill DeWitt III Among List Of Cards Owners Who Sold A Stake Last Year

The city of St. Louis Monday released a list of members of the Cardinals' ownership group who sold shares last year after a local group "aired allegations that the Cardinals owed the city hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit-sharing," according to David Hunn of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The city asked for the list of Cardinals owners as "required by their contract with the city." The list included Mercer Reynolds, Reynolds Sibling Management LLC, Bill DeWitt, Jr., Bill DeWitt III, Andrew DeWitt, Katherine D. Kern and Margaret D. Good. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III agreed to further explain the contract with the city, and the following are excerpts from that discussion.

Q: What was the purpose of the 2002 agreement with the city?

DeWitt III: The Cardinals were looking for relief from the 5 percent "amusement" tax on tickets -- which no other baseball team was paying -- and the city was looking for the Cardinals to commit to downtown St. Louis long term to protect and grow the existing Cardinals tax base.

Q: So, are the Cardinals still paying taxes to the city?

DeWitt III: Absolutely. There are 23 different types of taxes that the Cardinals and our affiliates pay. Sales tax on tickets is the biggest one. We now pay the State an average of $17.4 million a year in taxes, nearly double the average before the ballpark deal. We pay the city an average of $10.1 million per year in taxes, or about $3 million more than in the old stadium.

Q: Why did Cardinals owners sell some shares last year?

DeWitt III: Several owners wanted to return to their approximate original ownership percentages, so they sold some shares to a couple of new partners.

Q: Why haven't they shared profits with the city?

DeWitt III: The equity value of the team hasn't yet appreciated to the level that triggers that obligation (STLTODAY.com, 12/7).

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