It may not be football related, but St. Louis Rams fans have a reason to cheer today.
St. Louis has reached a settlement with billionaire and cursed embodiment of human greed Stan Kroenke, avoiding what could have been a dramatic and messy civil trial for a reported sum of $790 million.
News of the settlement was first reported Wednesday morning by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
While sports commentators and legal analysts have spent months picking over the crumbs of the case, arguably the most tantalizing and polarizing term of the possible settlement — an NFL expansion team — is not part of the deal.
Citing "sources with direct knowledge," the Post-Dispatch
's Joel Currier and Ben Frederickson report that it's not clear how the settlement will be split between Kroenke and the Los Angeles Rams.
Filed in 2017, the lawsuit had been scheduled for January, with the stakes of the legal proceedings thought to approach the billions of dollars — something Kroenke was willing to throw his NFL buddies under the bus to avoid.
In its report Wednesday, the Post-Dispatch
At the heart of the case was not what turned out to be the yearslong quest of Kroenke to move the team, some of which was happening in plain sight due to the regrettable lease the region gave the team upon its initial arrival from Los Angeles; or a trail of lies told by Rams executive Kevin Demoff along the way. Rather, it was the league’s insistence, from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to former league executive Eric Grubman, that a strict following of the relocation guidelines, which were established in 1984 in response to court recommendation to the NFL to avoid antitrust liability, would give St. Louis a fair chance to keep its team.
As it turned out, Kroenke and the NFL had no intention of giving St. Louis its fair shot to retain its Super Bowl-winning team. And now, it seems, they're going to pay dearly for it.
In a statement released this afternoon, St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones called the settlement a "historic agreement" which "closes a long chapter for our region, securing hundreds of millions of dollars for our communities while avoiding the uncertainty of the trial and appellate process."
The statement noted that the City, St. Louis County and Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (which owns the Rams' former stadium, now called the Dome at America's Center) are "still determining how settlement funds will be allocated" and that more updates will be provided "as they become avaiable."
For more on this developing story and the details of the settlement negotiation, check out the Post-Dispatch's reporting
This story was updated after publication to add a statement from St. Louis mayor Tishaura Jones.
Follow Danny Wicentowski on Twitter at @D_Towski. E-mail the author at Danny.Wicentowski@RiverfrontTimes.com
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