In a case concerning renovations to the Scottrade Center, a judge has ruled that St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green must sign a funding agreement between the city and the St. Louis Blues.
Back in February, the St. Louis Board of Alderman approved a $64-million financing agreement for a multi-phase renovation to the Scottrade Center. The final agreement required the signature of Green, but she refused to sign the document, contending that the funding plan will harm the city’s credit rating.
That prompted Kiel Center Partners–the owners of the Blues–to file a lawsuit in August, claiming that Green was required by law to sign off on the plan. St. Louis Circuit Court Judge Joan Moriarty has sided with the Blues, issuing an order that requires Green to sign the agreement within five days. More from The St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
In her order, Moriarty said nothing in the city charter gives the comptroller “the discretion to refuse to countersign the financing agreement based on her belief that the expenditure is imprudent.”
Green said the city charter legally obligated her office not to approve the financial agreement, citing a section that charges her with preserving the city’s credit.
Moriarty said the law provides only two methods for doing that, neither of which was used in this instance.
Under the charter, the comptroller can refuse to sign a contract only if it is executed “without previous authority of law or ordinance.” Green, who voted against the agreement when it came before the city Board of Estimate and Apportionment, never alleged that the approval process was conducted illegally.
There have been multiple legal cases concerning the funding plan for Scottrade Center renovations. In a separate case, alderman Cara Spencer and a pair of St. Louis residents are contending that the financing plan is unconstitutional and unenforceable. The case is currently scheduled to go to trial on December 11.
Renovations to the Scottrade Center have been planned to take place over three phases, with the timeline calling for them to be finished in 2019. A first phase was completed over the summer, with the Blues taking on debt to cover that portion of the project.
RELATED STORIES: Scottrade Center Renovations Subject of Legal Standoff; Upgrades for Scottrade Center Move Forward; Scottrade Center Renovation Plan Stalled; St. Louis Blues Seek Scottrade Center Upgrades