Blues Ownership Sues In Effort To Make St. Louis Comptroller Sign Off On Arena Upgrades
Blues ownership is asking a judge to "order the St. Louis comptroller to sign off" on a $64M financing agreement for Scottrade Center renovations, according to a front-page piece by Mike Faulk of the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The deal was approved by the Board of Aldermen in a 15-12 vote in February, but St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green has "refused to sign the agreement, saying it would hurt the city’s credit rating." The Blues are "seeking what’s called a writ of mandamus, a court order directing a government official to fulfill his or her duties." Green’s stance "suggests the law gives her discretion not to sign." Blues owners said that they have "met with Green and her staff multiple times over the last six months to attempt to get her signature on the agreement." They added that Green instead tried to "negotiate a different financing plan." Combined with interest, the "cost to the city for the renovations over 30 years" is estimated at $105M. The plan includes $50M from a Community Improvement District tax on sales at Scottrade Center "over the next 30 years." To help pay off the debt, $55M from a 5% tax on ticket sales "would be used." Part of the debt payment "still will come from general revenue" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 8/16). The city of St. Louis owns Scottrade Center, and the owners of the Blues, St. Louis Blues Hockey Club LP and Kiel Center Partners LP, in '92 entered a "50-year lease for the center at a rate of $1 per year" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/15).