The Morning After STL

David Hunn Talks Latest on St. Louis Stadium, Lawsuits Situation

Brendan Marks, Thu, 04 Jun 2015 14:06:00 GMT

David Hunn of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has been covering the St. Louis stadium situation in-depth for the past several months (here’s his latest story for some background).

he joined the ryan kelley morning after on thursday to discuss the latest with the stadium project and the city’s future with the nfl.

We’ve typed up some notable excerpts from the interview. You can listen to the whole thing below.

Many concerned about the six Missouri legislatures’ stadium lawsuit, but others aren’t. What are your thoughts?

“I think calling a prediction at this point is a fool’s errand. The guy’s planning the stadium are not idiots. They’re doing the best they can under a very difficult situation. To say it means the stadium is sunk to me is far too pessimistic. But to say it doesn’t have an impact is also very naive. But if it doesn’t get resolved quickly, (Gov. Jay) Nixon’s just going to extend the bonds. What happens then? It changes the game entirely.”

On two lawsuits involving stadium:

“There are two suits at play. There’s the legislators suing Nixon saying he can’t pay for the stadium with the existing bonds. And then there’s the lawsuit where the Dome Authority suing the city saying ‘We want an answer whether there has to be a public vote (to use city tax fund to build the stadium).’ Both are really important. The (judge in the city) needs to take this up quickly to keep (Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz) moving. Let’s say…this keeps getting dragged out? What happens then? If the judge doesn’t make a decision soon, there’s some uncertainty and that’s bad for the stadium. On the same hand, if the judge doesn’t make a decision, then the mayor and the Dome Authority are going to do what they’re already on course to do, which is pay for the stadium with city tax funds. The legislators vs. Nixon suit is the same thing. If the judge doesn’t move quickly, then Nixon’s just going to extend the bonds. If Nixon just extends the bonds, if (Mayor Francis Slay) just extends the bonds, then suddenly we’re in a position where the bonds are already extended before the controversies are dealt with. What happens then? It changes the game entirely.”

Blitz and Peacock always seem so confident?

“I think everyone is working their hardest and are being as honest as they think they can be. They’re being as confident as they think they can be. When it comes down to it, this is a decision of 32 billionaires sitting in a room deciding on the future of the league.”

Who would you blame for the city being in this position of possibly losing a team? Did St. Louis wait too long?

“Yeah, they waited too long. Had they moved quicker earlier on, Kroenke would have a harder time moving, right? No one’s been in a position before where an owner (said he’s building a stadium in another town for their team). The Vikings said they’re thinking about leaving, and the city said ‘Hold on a second, we’ll build you a stadium.’ The difference is in Minnesota, the owners weren’t building another stadium. This is a very, very unusual situation…It’s unprecedented in ways.”

What is the next step in the process?

“I honestly think Nixon’s two-man task force is just moving ahead as if there’s no road blocks. And frankly, I think they have no choice…other than to move ahead. Requiring a vote in the city will change the game a little. If that vote happens, it could happen in the fall.”

Do you think a vote in the city would have a chance of passing?

“Absolutely. The county is a tougher roadblock. There are a lot of people upset with the process, but not necessarily against the stadium itself. A good campaign would be relatively easy. There’s no increase in tax dollars.”

Download: David Hunn on The Ryan Kelley Morning After