Missouri AG Releases Dome Plans

Kudos to Missouri’s AG for doing the right thing!

Attorney General Chris Koster released the Rams’ proposal for upgrading the Edward Jones Dome in compliance with Sunshine Law requests to the state of Missouri.

Koster had announced May 7 that the state would release the documents today unless a judge said the records should remain closed. Since May 7, no representative of any party to the negotiations has attempted to articulate an exception to Missouri’s Sunshine Law, and thus the documents are being released.

Missouri AG Sees The Light Under the Dome…

Victory!

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster on Monday said he intends to publicly release documents next week related to the St. Louis Rams’ plans to renovate the Edward Jones Dome.

The secret plans have been at the center of a legal dispute between the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and the Post-Dispatch.

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 CVC, a public agency that operates the taxpayer-funded Dome, contends that the Rams’ May 1 renovation plan and other documents requested by the Post-Dispatch are not subject to the Missouri Sunshine Law, the state’s open-records law. Last week, the matter went to court as the CVC and the news organization sued each other.

In  a letter sent Monday to St. Louis Circuit Judge Bryan Hettenbach, Koster and Patricia Churchill, who heads the attorney general’s government affairs division, said that the state will release the documents Monday.

Judge to Determine Whether St. Louis Convention Bureau Must Release Dome Plans

A welcome development from St. Louis: a newspaper taking a secretive body to court.

The St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission and the Post-Dispatch both filed lawsuits on Wednesday, presenting divergent arguments about records related to Dome renovations and what role public debate should have in the process.

The CVC, a public agency that operates the Dome, sought a judge’s ruling on its obligation to comply with Post-Dispatch requests for copies of the Rams’ plan and other documents. In a countersuit filed hours later, the Post-Dispatch sought a court order requiring the CVC to turn over the documents.

…The Post-Dispatch maintains that the public has a right to stay informed of a project involving public money and a publicly owned building that taxpayers are still paying for.

The Post-Dispatch maintains that none of the Sunshine Law exemptions apply to the CVC and Rams proposals because they pertain specifically to a lease that is already an effective contract.

“It’s simple, really,” Robbins said. “The CVC is a public governmental body funded by public funds. It is negotiating improvements for a publicly owned stadium that likely will involve public funds.”