How the Rams "Snookered" St. Louis: Details of the "Most Scandalous" Stadium Deal in History

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The Rams could leave the Edward Jones Dome if the stadium isn't a top-tier facility come 2015.
  • The Rams could leave the Edward Jones Dome if the stadium isn't a top-tier facility come 2015.
Neil Demause, author of the book Field of Schemes, penned an article last week on his favorite subject: stadium-financing. The story, which originally ran in The Nation and was re-purposed on NPR, begins with his critique of a new stadium for the New Jersey Nets but goes onto cite other projects Demause views as financial boondoggles for taxpayers.

In St. Louis, Ballpark Village (or, it's lack thereof) gets a mention. But it was the deal to bring the Rams from Los Angeles to St. Louis that gets the most attention in the article, with a source telling Demause that the stadium lease was "probably the most scandalous deal in the country."

Check out the following excerpt:
Jim Nagourney, who spent three decades negotiating stadium deals on behalf of government agencies and team owners, describes how he helped snooker city officials as a consultant to the Los Angeles Rams, who were then negotiating a move to a new stadium in St. Louis. "We had a whiteboard, and we're putting stuff down" to demand in a stadium lease, he recalls. "I said, 'Guys, some of this is crazy.' And John Shaw, who was president of the Rams at the time -- brilliant, brilliant guy -- said, 'They can always say no. Let's ask for it.'" The result, which Nagourney calls "probably the most scandalous deal in the country," included a clause requiring the new stadium to remain "state-of-the-art," or else the team could break its lease and leave. "The city was poorly represented -- the city is always poorly represented.... We put in all of these ridiculous things, and the city didn't have the sense to say no to any of them."

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