Lawsuit Filed to Keep The Crew in Columbus
Yesterday, the State of Ohio and City of Columbus jointly filed a lawsuit against Precourt Sports Ventures (the owner of the Columbus Crew SC) and Major League Soccer (MLS) as a preventative measure to keep the team from relocating to Austin.
“Today I have filed a lawsuit in Franklin County to try to #SaveTheCrew and keep the black and gold in Columbus,” stated Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. “Loyal Crew fans in Columbus have invested their time and loyalty in this team, and they have allowed the Crew SC to capitalize from financial incentives paid for by their tax dollars. I am left with no other choice than to file this suit to ensure our laws are followed.”
The lawsuit cites Ohio Revised Code 9.67, which was created in 1996 to prohibit the owners of sports teams from relocating without giving a six month notice, and also giving “the city, an individual, or group of individuals, who live in the area an opportunity to purchase the team”. The law applies to sports team owners who use taxpayer funded facilities and/or receive financial assistance from Ohio or its municipalities.
“As I have said, we believe Columbus Crew SC belongs in Columbus,” added Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. “We have a rich history of professional soccer and some of the most loyal and dedicated fans in the league.”
The lawsuit notes that the Columbus Crew SC and its owners have benefited from $5 million in taxpayer-funded parking facility improvements, a property tax exemption for the land where Mapfre Stadium sits, a below-market value land lease rate from the State of Ohio, and additional ongoing financial incentives.
Stay tuned to CU for additional updates as this story develops.