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Proposed St. Louis Rams riverfront stadium

This consultant's rendering shows a south view from inside the proposed riverfront stadium for the St. Louis Rams. (Image courtesy of HOK)

St. Louis’ billion-dollar riverfront stadium proposal has been dead since January, but the local sports authority that led the effort to keep the Rams is still spending money for it.

Almost $1 million was spent from Jan. 1 through June 30, according to financial documents released by the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority, which owns the former Edward Jones Dome.

A quarterly financial report released by the authority shows $840,538 paid to a “consulting service” and $137,230 spent on “legal services” related to the riverfront stadium project since January.

Jim Shrewsbury, a local attorney and former city alderman who serves as chairman of the authority board, said the legal costs are related to an ongoing lawsuit brought by a St. Louis University professor and three students over public financing of the project.

On Tuesday, the Missouri Supreme Court remanded the issue back to a lower court to consider whether three voters represented by the SLU team should be allowed to join the defense in a lawsuit brought by the authority against the city.

The authority had sought to prevent the enforcement of a 2002 ordinance requiring a public vote on new taxpayer spending for a sports complex.

Other legal costs this year listed with the riverfront stadium project are related to the authority’s efforts to keep the Rams from acquiring a local practice facility appraised at $19 million.

The Dome’s former lease with the Rams may let the team eventually buy the practice facility for $1.

Shrewsbury said he did not immediately know what consulting services have been paid for this year.

Authority Executive Director Brian McMurtry this week declined to explain the costs, saying in an email he doesn’t grant interviews.

Shrewsbury said early Thursday that McMurtry would email more information about the expenses by midday, but McMurtry emailed late afternoon that he had not yet done so.

The Post-Dispatch has filed a public records request for more details on the taxpayer-paid expenses.

The organization receives $24 million annually combined in public funds provided by the state, city and St. Louis County.

The Post-Dispatch previously reported in January the authority was on the hook for $16.2 million in expenses related to the proposal for the $1.1 billion stadium.

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