The Missouri Attorney General’s Office today warned the St. Louis Rams and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission that the state plans to make public documents related to the proposed renovation of the Edward Jones Dome, including a May 1 plan from the Rams that has so far been kept secret.
Attorney General Chris Koster and Patricia Churchill, his chief counsel of government affairs, said in a letter sent today to St. Louis Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach that the state will release the documents “by the close of business on Monday, May 14.”
Hettenbach is overseeing a legal dispute about the records between the CVC and the Post-Dispatch. Lawyers for the Rams and the CVC were also sent copies of the state letter.
Last week, the CVC sought a judge's ruling on whether a state open-records law requires the commission to publicly release some Dome-renovation documents requested by the Post-Dispatch. The news organization later filed a countersuit and argued that the public shouldn't be kept in the dark about a multimillion dollar project involving a public building and public money.
The CVC and the Rams, as required by the team's lease for the Dome, have traded proposals on how to make the building a "first-tier" stadium. If the CVC can’t meet that standard by 2015, the team could terminate the lease and move out of St. Louis.
The Dome, which opened in 1995, was largely financed with $256 million in bonds, and the repayment of that 30-year debt will be $720 million. Every year, Missouri spends $12 million to pay off the debt, and St. Louis and St. Louis County each pay $6 million.
Officials from city and county government have so far supported the CVC’s contention that Dome records are not subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law and they can be kept confidential. The state, it seems, sees things differently.