What’s next? Completed Split of Rams settlement money

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis’ historic legal settlement with Rams owner Stan Kroenke and the NFL has been officially “split.”

Concerns remained among those on the board who finally approved the plan Wednesday about how St. Louis City and County will spend their share of the funds.

“Hallelujah,” said Earl Nance Jr., chairman of the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Authority (RSA).

After the plan cleared its final hurdle with a unanimous vote by the RSA board of directors, which operates the dome at America’s Center where the Rams played their home games in St. Louis.

The vote came more than a year after attorneys for St. Louis and the NFL met at a Clayton law firm and settled the $790 million settlement.

The City of St. Louis, St. Louis County and the RSA will discuss the $519 million remaining in an interest-bearing account after attorneys’ fees and funds maturing Jan. 12.

The city of St. Louis gets more than half: $280 million, but $30 million of that must go to the America’s Center (Convention Center) expansion project or go to the RSA if the St. Louis Board of Aldermen does not allocate the money to expand the convention center.

St. Louis County gets nearly a third: $169 million.

The RSA gets about 13%: $70 million and possibly another $30 million from the city.

Under state law, the RSA can only use its funds for the dome. Nance said RSA’s stake will keep the dome operational for at least another decade.

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones attended the RSA meeting. She told the board she was simply there to show support. She rushed to a waiting vehicle after the vote with no comment except to say she was late for another engagement.

With the trial now behind them, several board members broke their silence on the secret fund-sharing negotiations that dragged on for most of 2022. They pointed to a lack of leadership on the part of the city and St. Louis County.

The RSA board voted in June to transfer more than half a billion dollars to a higher-interest account while negotiations continued.

Mayor Jones and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page signed it just last month because they may have missed $2 million or more in interest.

The RSA Board also passed a resolution to pool the money to do something “transformative” for the St. Louis area. Board members now say the city and county just wanted their money.

“I think our litmus test would be something that if you saw it in 10 years you’d be like, ‘Man, that really made a difference,'” said Dave Spence, vice chairman of the RSA Board of Directors. “Whether it’s downtown or our city crime prevention or programs or opportunities that need a little nudge to get across the finish line… (but) that’s all a moot point right now.”

“Throughout the process we tried to do the right thing. We’ve been trying to get the money invested in high returns,” said Joseph Blanner, Secretary and Treasurer of the RSA Board. “We tried to change the presentation, the discussion.”

“I think (the city and county) should act immediately, use caution and not take as much time as it took us to make this deal,” Nance said.

He said he had faith in her to do just that.

“St. Louisans should take comfort in the fact that these funds will be invested responsibly as we move toward a final decision,” said Jones Chief of Staff Jared Boyd.

He added that the city will not rush this final decision.

A spokesman for the city of St. Louis said making most of the city’s ARPA funds available by 2024 is a top priority.

“We’re going to sit down with the council and talk about how much of that we want to put into a rainy day or savings or endowments or if we want to put some of that into the county,” Page said.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen and St. Louis County Council will have final say on how their shares are distributed.

For its part, the RSA approved a call for proposals to invest its $70 million share in an interest-bearing account, which Spence said would yield about $8,600 in interest per day at current interest rates.

https://fox2now.com/news/missouri/whats-next-split-of-rams-settlement-money-finalized/ What’s next? Completed Split of Rams settlement money

Sarah Y. Kim

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