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Reese to try once again to torpedo new Charlotte ballpark

New Charlotte Knights ballpark

Undeterred by his five defeats in court, attorney Jerry Reese informed city officials that he will once again sue to prevent city funding of a new Charlotte Knights (Class AAA; International League) ballpark.

Reese has spent a good share of time over the last decade opposing any effort by the Knights ownership to actually move from Fort Mill, S.C., to Charlotte proper. (On the very first day of Ballpark Digest publication on July 2, 2002, one of the big stories we covered by an effort by the Knights owners to convince Charlotte officials a new ballpark would be a good investment.) He’s filed five lawsuits and lost five decisions, with judges as of late not taking a whole lot of time to decide the claims are without basis.

His argument this time: using $8 million in city funds ($7.25 million in tourism-tax proceeds, $750,000 from Center City Partners) violates the statutes covering acceptable use of this money — specifically, it can’t be used toward a for-profit operation. (Erik Spanberg of the Charlotte Business Journal has the specifics.) 

City officials apparently anticipated this argument (after watching five previous lawsuits whiz by, one tends to anticipate these things) and say they’ve crafted the agreement so it doesn’t violate any funding guidelines. And the City Council doesn’t appear to be heeding the lawsuit: they’re expected to approve the deal on Monday, which means the $54-million ballpark (largely funded and financed by the Knights) is one step closer to reality.

Image courtesy of the Charlotte Knights.

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