The St. Louis Blues cannot seem to catch a break when it comes to off ice things. Whether it is injuries or political nonsense, there always seems to be something these days.
Like sands through an hour glass, these are the Days of Our Lives. That is what the St. Louis Blues might as well be playing as their intro on their new AVA board.
Apparently it is a good thing the Blues already spent the money on AVA (audio visual assistant). The city, or at least one alderwoman in particular, seem hellbent on reneging the deal that the Blues planned to use toward future arena upgrades.
Cara Spencer is a well spoken individual. At least when on the radio, she presents herself as a very conscientious person that is only looking out for the best interests of the city.
That is admirable and should be something we want from our politicians. However, at this stage of the game, this seems personal. At the very least, it seems like her camp is just looking to pick fights for no reason.
Spencer’s legal team is now accusing the Blues and the St. Louis Development Corp. of removing language in the deal that would allow the Blues to not even make their payments. I do suggest reading the full article from the Post-Dispatch as they can go into more detail.
The crux of the argument is about language removed from a deal struck long ago. Trying to boil it all down to the simplest form, it seems that the only change was a brief mention of legal language about payments instead of taxes.
Of course, Alderwoman Spencer is throwing a fit saying this shows the clandestine nature of how the Blues and Development Corp. are trying to fleece the people.
“This is an enormous giveaway that happened behind closed doors,” Spencer said in an interview with the Post-Dispatch. “This is a breakdown in trust between the Board of Aldermen and the St. Louis Development Corp.”
The Blues are denying any such collusion.
"“We weren’t changing the deal at all,” David Richardson, a lawyer at Husch Blackwell representing the Blues told the Post-Dispatch."
As with anything political, it mainly boils down to what you want to believe. You have the team and a city organization saying everything has been done legally, just perhaps not by the book in every single, tiny instance.
On the other side, you have an alderwoman claiming she has the city and it’s citizens best interest at heart. However, it comes off as political grandstanding about something most people either want taken care of or don’t care about in the first place.
Now, there are lots of things through history that might have seemed insignificant, but were worthy causes. This just does not seem like one of them.
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I try never to be political in this space, but it almost becomes impossible not to take a side. I fall on the side that renovations need to happen or else the city will continue its slide into irrelevancy.
The Blues and Scottrade have been told by national organizations such as the SEC and NCAA that they will not look at St. Louis as much since the arena was very outdated.
Spencer can claim to want the arena to be fixed, but the taxpayers not to have to fit the bill, but the longer this goes on, the more disingenuous that sounds.
I know very little about the intricacies of the law and legal language. I do know that these sorts of things happen quite a bit where two sides of a deal seek to trim the fat in terms of the wordiness of a contract.
"“Often when you have an old agreement like this that has a provision that is meaningless, it gets cleaned up.” – City Counselor Michael Garvin, via Post-Dispatch"
Having worked in several fields where communication was lacking, this seems like another situation where each side assumed the other was doing something. In Spencer’s case, they simply used that assumption to jump to a negative conclusion.
Otis Williams, the Director of St. Louis Development Corp., even said if he had to do it over, they’d have done everything by the book and announced it all via loud speakers.
“What we will do in the future if we have to, is to make sure we dissect every bit and do the homework to make sure the elected officials are fully aware,” Williams said in the Post.
The article states Williams was under the belief that the deal approved by the Aldermen back in February gave him the right to alter the language with the Blues. So, again, this comes off as trying to go back on their word because they no longer liked the language.
This thing needs to get figured out. Regardless of which side you fall on, the waste of money spent as this heads into a courtroom is enough for it to stop.
I fall on the side of the team. I am not naive enough to think owners are above looking for legal loopholes, but I believe the Blues have the city’s best interest in mind as well.
They simply feel this deal was already agreed to and the city will benefit from the events held in the arena.