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Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority v. City of St. Louis

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

September 27, 2016

REGIONAL CONVENTION AND SPORTS COMPLEX AUTHORITY, Plaintiff/Respondent,
v.
CITY OF ST. LOUIS, Defendant/Respondent, JEANETTE OXFORD, et. al., Proposed Intervenors/Appellants.

         Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis Honorable Thomas J. Frawley

          ROY L. RICHTER, Judge

         Jeanette Oxford, William White, and Earl Garrett (collectively, "Appellants") appeal from the trial court's judgment denying Appellants' right to intervene in the action below and the invalidation of a St. Louis City ordinance. The only issue we address in this appeal is whether or not the trial court erred in denying intervention to Appellants. Finding no error, we affirm.[1]

         I. BACKGROUND

         The action before the trial court in which Appellants attempted to intervene concerned the validity of City Ordinance 66509 ("the Ordinance"), codified as Chapter 3.91 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis. The Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority ("the RSA") brought suit against the City of St. Louis ("the City") seeking a declaration that the Ordinance was unconstitutional and void. The Ordinance was enacted in 2002 via initiative petition and was designed to bar the City from providing financial assistance to the development of a professional sports facility without first: (1) preparing a fiscal note and making it available to the public for at least twenty days prior to action; (2) holding a public hearing allowing opportunity for proponents and opponents to be heard; and (3) obtaining voter approval for financial assistance by a majority vote of City of St Louis voters.

         The RSA, along with a stadium task force formed by Governor Nixon, were developing a financing plan for construction and operation of a sports stadium to present to the St. Louis Rams Football Club and the National Football League ("NFL"). The financing plan developed by the RSA included an assumption that the City would provide financial assistance to the development of a new football stadium. As the Ordinance prohibited the City from providing any financial assistance without a public hearing and vote, RSA brought a declaratory judgment action against the City seeking a ruling that the Ordinance does not apply to a financing plan for a new stadium or, alternatively, is unconstitutional and void.

         Appellants are all residents, registered voters, and taxpayers in the City of St. Louis. In addition, one of the Appellants, Jeanette Mott Oxford, is one of the original signatories of the petition to place the ordinance on the City ballot in 2002. Appellants filed a Motion for Leave to Intervene in the case as defendants, seeking a public hearing and public vote on whether financial assistance would be provided for the construction of a new professional sports facility pursuant to their rights as set forth in the Ordinance.

         On August 3, 2015, the trial court entered two separate Orders and Judgments, one of which held that Appellants did not meet the burden to intervene of right, nor did they meet the requirements for permissive intervention[2], and therefore denied Appellants' Motion to Intervene. The Court also entered a judgment in favor of the RSA invalidating the ordinance. This appeal followed.[3]

         II. DISCUSSION

         Appellants raise five points on appeal. Appellants' first two points on appeal claim the trial court erred in denying Appellants' Motion for Leave to Intervene because they had a right to intervene as registered voters and taxpayers and were not adequately being represented by the City. Appellants also claim the trial court's denial of their Motion for Leave to Intervene deprived them of a property and liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

         In their third point, Appellants allege the trial court erred in striking portions of their affidavits because the stricken portions included Appellants' offer of evidence about their interests in the case. Appellants claim the trial court abused its discretion and could not have properly denied their Motion for Leave to Intervene without considering the evidence stricken from their affidavits.

         Finally, in Appellants' fourth and fifth points, they challenge the trial court's judgment in favor of the RSA on the merits that the Ordinance was invalid and too vague, claiming that decision was erroneous as a matter of law.

         A. Denial of Motion for Leave to Intervene

         Appellants' first two points on appeal allege the trial court erred in denying Appellants' Motion for Leave to Intervene, arguing this ruling was contrary to law as Appellants were registered voters and taxpayers with an interest in the litigation, which was not being adequately represented by the City. Appellants also claim their right to vote as provided by the Ordinance constituted a property and liberty interest protected by the Fourteenth ...


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