St. Louis Blues Clear First Hurdle In Arena Financing Agreement

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 25: Jaden Schwartz
ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 25: Jaden Schwartz /

What seemed like a no-brainer decision for St. Louis Blues fans, has been anything but. The renovations on the Scottrade Center have hit roadblocks left and right, but an end might be in sight.

The St. Louis Blues thought they had everything put to bed months and months ago. They had reached an agreement with the city’s Board of Aldermen to get renovations to the partially outdated Scottrade Center paid for.

The Blues thought they had so much agreed upon that they started the work during the summer of 2017. It was all finished by the time the 2017-18 season began, but ultimately had to be paid for with a combination of city money and debt taken on by the Blues.

The latter part came about because of two different issues that had to be taken to court. The Blues are still dealing with one issue – the one that has been thrust into the court of public opinion much more frequently – but are now done with another issue.

Judge Joan Moriarty ruled that Comptroller Darlene Green must sign the $64 million agreement between the city and the team. The comptroller had been clinging to the belief that part of the city charter gave her the right to deny the agreement.

According to the article by Mike Faulk, linked above, Green was using the belief that the agreement would hurt the city’s credit as her defense for not signing. Moriarty said there was nothing in the charter that gave the comptroller that control unless the process was conducted illegally, which it was not.

What is good about this is that the path is now set for the Blues to receive the financing. There are still obstacles to overcome, but things are definitely looking brighter.

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At least the issue with Alerwoman Cara Spencer could be argued with some legitimacy. She wants certain issues about the true ownership of the arena cleared up and the city having less responsibility. While I personally disagree, at least she stands on principle.

Green never had such an argument, or at least not publically. She said it would hurt the city’s credit, but either I do not understand credit or the reason is beyond my grasp.

They city was entering into an agreement to help finance renovations to the arena. Unless it was found the city could not pay for it or payments were missed, I am not sure what how the credit would be affected.

It came off as political grandstanding, as does Spencer. Luckily the judge did not see any merit in the argument and factually cited the charter as not saying the comptroller had any power in this circumstance.

Things might not be quite as easy in Spencer’s case. That one, according the Post-Dispatch, will go to court on December 11.

With each side needing to show different things or prove various things, it will not be as open and shut as this case. The fact that is is being presided over by the same judge might be a fortunate circumstance though.

I do not believe it favors the Blues simply because she ruled in their favor this time. It does favor them in that she can see through the political BS and hopefully will honor a deal that was approved by a majority, even if a thin majority.

Perhaps that is what bothers me about this situation overall. As a society, we no longer want to abide by rule of the majority.

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Whether it is elections or board decisions or even smaller, more local things, there is just a propensity to whine and sue instead of moving forward. Perhaps that is an oversimplification, but it is the feeling you get with these sorts of situations these days.

The bottom line is that the Blues have cleared the first hurdle without stumbling. Once you get momentum going, that second hurdle might not seem so daunting. Time will tell how that one plays out, but the Blues have claimed their first victory.