Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has filed a lawsuit against Precourt Sports Ventures to prevent the team from ignoring the “Art Modell Law” as PSV explores move Columbus Crew SC to Austin. In a press release issued Monday afternoon, DeWine committed to working to keeping the team in Columbus, filing what appears to be a preemptive move against PSV.
#BREAKING: My office, and the city of Columbus, has filed a lawsuit against Precourt Sports Ventures, the operator/investor of @ColumbusCrewSC, & @MLS, to protect taxpayer interests & ensure they follow the law if they seek to move the team to TX. #CrewSC https://t.co/01Mo8QRYGv— Ohio AG Mike DeWine (@OhioAG) March 5, 2018
The suit filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court names Precourt Sports Ventures, Team Columbus Soccer, Major League Soccer, and Crew Soccer Stadium LLC as defendants to the suit.
From State Rep. @mikeduffey on today's #CrewSC lawsuit: "I'm pleased that our state’s top law enforcement officer is vigorously enforcing longstanding Ohio law. The Crew SC is our team. Our town. Neither MLS or Precourt Sports Ventures can operate above Ohio law.” #SaveTheCrew— Ohio AG Mike DeWine (@OhioAG) March 5, 2018
DeWine lists several benefits that the team has received including state taxpayer-funded improvements to parking facilities, a state property tax exemption for the land where MAPFRE Stadium was built, a below-market lease rate on the land, city taxpayer-funded improvements to utilities improvements and a TIF on Silver Drive.
The “Modell Law”, Ohio Revised Code 9.67, has yet to be tested in court and today’s lawsuit brings any test one step closer to determining if the law will be an effective measure to keeping the team in Columbus.
Here's the background on what the law says: After the @Browns relocated to Baltimore, the General Assembly enacted ORC 9.67. The statute applies to owners whose teams use tax-supported facilities & accept financial assistance from the state & its localities. #SaveTheCrew #CrewSC— Ohio AG Mike DeWine (@OhioAG) March 5, 2018
Anthony Precourt recently broke his four-month silence with an interview with the Austin Statesman reaffirming his desire to find a suitable stadium to move the team in the 2019 season.