OH-Attorney General Mike DeWine cites a clause from the Browns as to why the Crew must stay in Columbus.
Oh, boy. Things are really starting to heat up between the city of Columbus, the Crew, and Precourt Sports Ventures.
Just one day after Austin released renderings of the potential new stadium in downtown Austin, Ohio Attorney Mike DeWine released a statement in a press release citing a clause that was created in 1996 after the infamous move of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.
The clause mentioned by DeWine is the Ohio Revised Code 9.67 which became effective on June 20, 1996. This code states:
No owner of a professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility for most of its home games and receives financial assistance from the state or a political subdivision thereof shall cease playing most of its home games at the facility and begin playing most of its home games elsewhere unless the owner either:
(B) Gives the political subdivision in which the facility is located not less than six months’ advance notice of the owner’s intention to cease playing most of its home games at the facility and, during the six months after such notice, gives the political subdivision or any individual or group of individuals who reside in the area the opportunity to purchase the team.
Within the press release, DeWine stated the whole idea of the revised code was to protect communities when they provide financial support via tax dollars for a professional sports team’s stadium.
“Ohioans are very loyal fans who passionately support our teams and take great civic pride in their accomplishments,” DeWine stated in a press release on the Ohio Attorney General website. “Our teams are a part of our communities. That is why when ownership moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in 1995, the Ohio General Assembly took action and passed a law to protect Ohio and its communities when they provide tax-funded support for professional teams’ stadiums. As a United States Senator, I, along with Senator John Glenn and Congressman Louis Stokes, introduced similar legislation in Congress.”
The OH-Attorney General added he believes this clause applies to the Crew and that he is prepared to take legal action regarding the potential relocation.
“The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has reviewed the law passed after the Browns’ move. We believe the evidence will show that this law would apply to the Columbus Crew and Mapfre Stadium. As Attorney General, should ownership of the Columbus Crew initiate a move of the team without complying with Ohio law, I am prepared to take the necessary legal action under this law to protect the interests of the State of Ohio and the central Ohio communities which have all invested to make the Columbus Crew a proud part of our Ohio sports tradition and help Mapfre Stadium earn its reputation as ‘Fortress Columbus.’”