St. Louis region announces plan for Rams settlement money

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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A year after Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL agreed to pay $790 million to settle a lawsuit over the team’s departure to Los Angeles, St. Louis interests have announced a plan to split the money.

The office of St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones released details of the plan Tuesday evening. The tentative agreement still needs to be approved by the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) board of directors.

He is asking that the city of St. Louis be given $250 million, the county of St. Louis $169 million and the RSA – which owns the domed stadium where the Rams played – $70 million. Another $30 million would help pay for the expansion of America’s Center convention center, which is attached to the dome. While the dome is in the city of St. Louis, county taxpayers helped pay for it.

The law firm that handled the case received $275 million in attorney fees. That left $512 million, a figure that is expected to rise with interest to reach $519.5 million by the time the money is split.

The lawsuit settlement was reached in November 2021, weeks before the trial was scheduled to start. Kroenke and the NFL had failed in their bids to have the lawsuit thrown out or at least out of St. Louis.

The lawsuit sought more than $1 billion in damages, saying the NFL violated its own relocation guidelines in allowing the move, and that the league and the Rams got rich at the expense of the community they have left behind them.

Then-owner Georgia Frontiere moved the Rams from Los Angeles in 1995 to her hometown of St. Louis. Kroenke, a Missouri real estate developer married to an heir to the Walmart fortune, became a minority owner. Frontiere died in 2008 and left the team to her children, who sold the Rams to Kroenke in 2010.

Soon after, the Rams asked for millions of dollars to upgrade the dome, which was built with taxpayer money in the early 1990s to attract an NFL team. St. Louis interests first proposed a more modest upgrade, then eventually proposed a new billion-dollar stadium along the Mississippi River that would be jointly funded by taxpayers, the team and the NFL . The league and the team hesitated.

Instead, Kroenke bought land in Inglewood, Calif., and moved the team with approval from league owners in 2016. SoFi Stadium opened in September 2020 and is now home to the Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers, who left San Diego in 2017.

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