ST. LOUIS — There was movement Thursday in the matter of spending more than half a billion dollars from St. Louis’s settlement with Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, and the NFL.
The plan, for now, is to use that money to make a lot more money.
The board of the Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which runs the Dome at America’s Center where the Rams used to play met for hours on the issue at the RSA’s quarterly meeting.
“I look forward to the settlement being reached where we can make a big ‘whoop-to-do’,” RSA Board Chairman, Rev. Earl Nance, Jr., told his fellow commissioners.
Two new RSA board members, Joseph Blanner and vice-chairman Dave Spence, appointed by Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, sponsored a resolution calling on the board to be more “open and transparent” when it comes to the NFL settlement and to use the money to create a “long-lasting, significant economic impact.”
The RSA, St. Louis City, and St. Louis County sued Kroenke and the league for misleading St. Louis into trying to keep the Rams with a new riverfront stadium.
Kroenke and the league paid a $790 million settlement in December. Negotiations on how to split and spend the $512 million remaining after attorney fees have gone on for nearly seven months in private.
“The intent of the resolution was to make a policy statement that number one. We’re going to handle this from our perspective in an open and transparent way since we’re a public body,” Blanner said.
“My concern was taking a chance on telling the city and county what they should do with their part of the money,” countered Nance Jr.
The 11-member board instead decided to “table” the measure, in essence, voting it down. The board is made up of five appointees from the governor and three each for the St. Louis Mayor and the St. Louis County Executive.
In a unanimous vote, they did approve putting the money into higher interest, fiscally-safe treasury bonds, instead of the low-interest bank account where it is now.
“We want to get it into vehicles that are getting a better return on investment. I think that’s captain obvious. It’s $512 million. With today’s investment in AAA credit vehicles, that’s quite a bit of interest,” Spence said.
He added that the money was currently earning less than 1% interest, about $2 million per year. Moving it would change that to about $15 million. St. Louis City and St. Louis County would have to approve moving the money as well.
Nance said he hoped final decisions on how to split and spend the money would come by the end of 2022.
With scandals now surrounding the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County governments, leaders from neighboring counties are also sending a message about the spending of remaining Rams and NFL settlement money. Neighboring counties like Franklin, Jefferson, and St. Charles, might also have a say in how the money is allocated.