ST. LOUIS – Negotiations to split the $ 790 million Rams deal appear to be long enough for one of the parties to want to move the money to higher-yield investments.
St. St. Louis County Louis and the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns The Dome at America’s Center where the Rams played, have been haggling for more than six months over how to split the $ 790 million the league and team agreed upon. pay to settle a 2017 lawsuit for his move to Los Angeles.
Following attorneys’ fees, there are about $ 500 million in the settlement that the city, county and dome authority, known as the RSA, must divide. But there has been little published information on the progress of these negotiations since the agreement was announced in November.
Information released on Wednesday indicated that an agreement was not closed. The RSA council unanimously approved a motion at Wednesday’s council meeting urging the city and county to agree to move the money to new mutual funds as negotiations unfold.
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“With current rates, we lose $ 15 million a year, compared to the $ 2 million where the money is now,” said RSA member Dave Spence. “This is too obvious a move and has nothing to do with the negotiations. And in the current rate environment, we wouldn’t be doing our fiduciary responsibility. “.
This money could be earning higher returns for a while. Rev. Earl Nance Jr., who recently became president of the RSA after longtime Governor Mike Parson replaced longtime president Jim Shrewsbury, said it could be “months” before the three parties reach an agreement.
“Hopefully sooner rather than later,” Nance said. “Something could be broken.”
When asked if he thought it could be split into thirds between the three parties, Nance replied, “I think that’s fair, but that’s not what’s happening.”
Former Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who runs a consulting and mediation firm, is apparently facilitating talks between the three parties. During the meeting, Nance said he thought the board should “work with Sly James” and “get back to negotiations without delay.”
For the RSA, the clock is ticking. The money the entity has used to pay its three-person staff and other operating expenses, largely generated through interest on a recently withdrawn Dome debt bond reserve account, is being exhausting.
Marty Finn, RSA’s deputy chief executive, said there is enough money to pay for expenses this year. But we have the money from the settlement to continue operating, and if negotiations start next year “I don’t think we’ll get it during the remaining calendar year,” he said.
The RSA, Nance said, must “take responsibility for fighting for the amount of funds we know we need to continue to manage this dome and for it to exist.”
Erv Switzer, a Greensfelder lawyer representing the RSA in negotiations with the city and county, declined to comment on the negotiations.
Doug Moore, spokesman for St. Louis County Executive Louis, Sam Page, said it made sense to move the money to higher-yielding securities during the negotiations. But he said it would not be “appropriate to comment while the mediation process is underway.”
Nick Dunne, a spokesman for Mayor Tishaura O. Jones, said in a statement that the city could not discuss the negotiations, but that any funds it receives “should be invested responsibly with a focus on our children.” and grandchildren, not in the next election.
The 11-member board consists of five people appointed by the state and three from the city and county, the three governments that funded the construction of the Dome when the Rams moved here from Los Angeles in 1995. Nance is a person appointed by the city whose term has just expired. last month.
Open and transparent
Three of Parson’s five nominees on Wednesday expressed support for a motion by resolution committee member Joe Blanner. He called for “action to ensure that future discussions and processes on the allocation and use of liquidation funds … are conducted in an open and transparent manner while recognizing that a certain level of confidentiality in the negotiations of it can sometimes make negotiations more effective. “
The resolution also called for the funds to be used “in a way that creates a significant and lasting economic impact on the city and the county.”
Nance said the board should heed his lawyer’s advice and not pass the resolution, saying “we have no problem telling the city and county what to do with their share of the money.”
Blanner said the resolution was “just a statement of purpose and intent.”
“Committing to openness and transparency is a good idea,” he said. “No one is trying to throw a negative light at the process.… No one is trying to throw a negative light at any elected or appointed official.”
Spence asked Switzer about his view that the resolution could be “opening us up to unnecessary exposure.” Switzer said he did not want to discuss his legal opinion at an open meeting.
The board introduced the resolution.
Spence and Blanner supported language circulating at the end of the Missouri legislative session that would have expanded the powers of the RSA and required a two-thirds vote for the RSA to spend the liquidation money. The legislation did not pass.