St. Louis area rams’ money still in limbo as settlement talks continue

Passive Funds: While three public entities are debating how to split the $541 million of St. Louis’ lawsuit against the Rams and the NFL, the money only earns 1.4% interest. With interest rates rising, Jim Gallagher and David Nicklaus argue that income should be at least twice that amount.

David Nicklaus
And the

Chris Drury

Street. Louis – The leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County have yet to agree to move $515 million of the NFL Rams’ settlement money into higher-return investments while negotiations over the split continue.

The Regional Conference Board and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), which owns The Dome at America’s Center, along with St. Louis and St. Louis County, is one of the three parties to the settlement, has been urging the move since June. Last month, its board of directors voted unanimously to support the transfer of funds to higher-return investments while talks are underway about splitting the funds among the three parties. But Mayor St. Louis, Techora or Jones, and St. Louis County Executive Sam Page have yet to agree to the move.

On Wednesday, the RSA board again voted unanimously to reinvest money in higher-yielding securities, this time specifically endorsing three-month US Treasuries through Commerce Bank that could gain 3.25%. The money is currently in a trust that earns 1.89% interest, up from 1.44% just a month ago. Even that rate produced about $800,000 in interest on the settlement money in just one month, RSA attorney Erv Switzer told the board.

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“We have to do something to get some movement on this,” RSA Chairman Earl Nance told reporters after the meeting. “We have voted before And it’s important that we do it again and make it public that we want to see movement and see this money moving. We’re starting to see some opportunities.”

The RSA Board of Directors also approved the issuance of a request for proposals for investment services. Nance said he was “encouraged” by Jones’ comment after an RSA meeting last month that the city hoped to reach an agreement on reinvesting the money. Attorney Joseph Blaner, the board treasurer who made the proposal to move the money, said there had been discussions with the city and county about the proposal.

“Definitely no one in the position for the next 90 days to spend the money,” Blaner said. “I don’t know why we don’t see movement.”

In a statement, Big spokesperson Doug Moore said the RSA action “It was a necessary step in the agreement.”

“The decision is something we’ve been talking about and that’s a good way forward,” Moore said. “It is better to make the right decision than to make a quick decision, to maximize interest rates and reduce risks during volatile economic conditions.”

“The city counselor is actively working with stakeholders to find a high-interest investment that provides flexibility when negotiations are complete and aligns with other St. Louis investments,” said Nick Desidery, a Jones spokesperson.

The three parties have been negotiating how the money will be distributed since the $790 settlement — more than $276.5 million of which has gone to law firms. Blitz, Bardgit, Deutsch and Dodd Bennett To cover attorney’s fees – It was announced in November.

Board members say the pursuit of higher returns while negotiations continue is a no-brainer now, as high interest rates mean that even low-risk securities can offer much higher returns than the money is making now. Last month, the board estimated that at least $14,000 a day was left on the table by keeping the money in the low-interest account.

The RSA Board of Directors consists of three appointees each from the city and county, along with five appointees from the state. Governor Mike Parson, Jones, and Page put their stamp on the board by filling vacancies and replacing board members with expired terms. But even city and county appointees voted in favor of resolutions urging Jones and Page to invest the money in more profitable investments while negotiations proceed.

All three parties have an argument to make about who should get the largest share of the money. The The St. Louis Business Journal reported that the city was seeking to acquire up to two-thirds of the settlement, claiming that the biggest damage is the loss of game-day revenue downtown. St. Louis County at the start Refused to join ill-fated 2015 effort to fund a new riverside stadium To keep the rams here.

RSA exists mostly as an entity to own and maintain the Dome, but it needs money to keep paying for the upkeep of the venue that tourism officials say helps St. Louis with large conferences and other events. RSA gets $4 million annually, half from the state and $1 million each for the city and county, for dome maintenance and capital improvements. But that financing agreement expires in 2024, and the RSA director said the entity could soon run out of operating cash.

On Wednesday, RSA CEO Marty Finn said the entity has fallen to about $275,000 in operating cash.

“I don’t want to commit to completing February at this point,” he said.

Nance acknowledged the liquidity crunch and said it would be in the interest of RSA to reach an agreement.

“It would be in our best interest to schedule her,” Nance said. “I try to remain optimistic.”

Meanwhile, long conversations about splitting the money have prevented much, if any, public discussion about what the money should actually be used for. St. Louis and St. Louis County are still pouring in millions in federal pandemic aid and deciding how to spend that money.

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