RSA files lawsuit to deny sale of practice facility to Rams for $1

ST. LOUIS -- As the Rams officially head back to Los Angeles, another lawsuit was brought against them Thursday.

The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA) filed suit in the St. Louis County 21st Circuit Court against the Rams in an effort to prevent the team from purchasing the Rams Park practice facility in Earth City at a cost of $1.

The Rams' lease with the RSA, which is the group that controlled Rams Park and the Edward Jones Dome, says the team has the option of purchasing the facility and the land in October 2024 for $1.

The RSA's suit is seeking to declare that provision invalid because the Rams will cease to be under contract for the building long before the 2024 option is available. The Rams are moving out this week but will do some repairs in the building for the next few weeks. Their lease on Rams Park expires April 30.

"The training facility is an important asset for the authority and for the region," RSA chairman Jim Shrewsbury said in a statement. "Missouri law is clear that there is no valid purchase option on the property. In order to make sure that the Authority can properly market, value and use this asset, we have taken action to obtain certainty about the invalidity of the option."

The lawsuit claims that as the owner of the facility, the RSA has "a responsibility to ensure that the property can be rented or leased to a new tenant or conveyed to a new owner in a manner that maximizes the use and benefit of the property."

The property consists of the Rams' now-former office building, an 80-yard indoor practice field and three outdoor practice fields spread out over the park's 27 acres. The facility opened in 1996 and was rented to the Rams for an annual price of $25,000.

The RSA spent more than $16 million in a failed effort to build a new football stadium for the Rams on the north riverfront. A sale of the Rams Park land could potentially help recoup the money lost on that venture, but such a sale couldn't take place as long as the Rams still had the option to buy the land.

The NFL approved the Rams' move to Los Angeles in January. The team closed its business operations at Rams Park last week and shut down the football operations this week as they make the physical move to Los Angeles.

After the NFL approved the Rams' move, a class-action suit on behalf of 30,000 St. Louis-based personal seat license holders at the Edward Jones Dome was brought against the Rams, asserting that the license holders should retain their right to seat licenses and season tickets, even in California.

Before that, another suit was filed on behalf of St. Louis fans alleging that Rams owner Stan Kroenke and chief operating officer Kevin Demoff deceived fans by claiming the team did not intend to leave when they had actually been plotting the move for years. That suit claimed the deception violated Missouri's Merchandising Practices Act.