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23 hours ago, skittlebrau said:

How does the mayor’s statement that they’ve been in contact with groups that might be interested in an offer translate to a local ownership group is in place? Grasping at straws. MLS/PSV also appear ready to go to war on Modell Law being unconstitutional.

Again let me state I'm not taking either side and i want to see MLS in both Austin and San Antonio.

This is the first time in history (dating to the creation of MLS as a legal entity in 1993) that MLS/SUM/USSF ("The Cabal") has been litigated by a truly adversarial party.  There have been player's union filings, NASL filings, WarnerCo/CONCACAF filings, but not a lawsuit filed by a State's Attorney General.  That has teeth, and threatens open discovery in state or federal court.

The United States has left the cabal alone for 25 years, and the evolution to today's soccertainment tax shelter "business model" has never been challenged.  No one except the IRS has ever seen anything close an actual fiscal filing on the structure and mechanics of the complex economic spaghetti that makes up the cabal.

This isn't clutching at straws, "The Modell Law" reads as follows http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/gp9.67v1:


9.67 Restrictions on owner of professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility.

No owner of a professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility for most of its home games and receives financial assistance from the state or a political subdivision thereof shall cease playing most of its home games at the facility and begin playing most of its home games elsewhere unless the owner either:

(A) Enters into an agreement with the political subdivision permitting the team to play most of its home games elsewhere;

(B) Gives the political subdivision in which the facility is located not less than six months' advance notice of the owner's intention to cease playing most of its home games at the facility and, during the six months after such notice, gives the political subdivision or any individual or group of individuals who reside in the area the opportunity to purchase the team.

Effective Date: 06-20-1996 .


If The Cabal wants to challenge the Constitutionality of this law, they will have to do so in Federal Court.  Doing so creates the risk of _deep_ exposure of their "interstate commerce" position.  And they don't want to risk that.  The mayor is just the mouthpiece.  The Ohio State AG filed suit 5 weeks ago against PSV (the cabal "investor/operator of the Crew), Team Columbus (owner of the stadium) and Crew Soccer Stadium (lessor of the stadium property from the state).  PSV and MLS are in a tight spot.



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from the wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dormant_Commerce_Clause:

Justice Anthony Kennedy has written that: "The central rationale for the rule against discrimination is to prohibit state or municipal laws whose object is local economic protectionism, laws that would excite those jealousies and retaliatory measures the Constitution was designed to prevent."[7] In order to determine whether a law violates a so-called "dormant" aspect of the Commerce Clause, the court first asks whether it discriminates on its face against interstate commerce. In this context, "discrimination" simply means differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter.

Thus, in a dormant Commerce Clause case, a court is initially concerned with whether the law facially discriminates against out-of-state actors or has the effect of favoring in-state economic interests over out-of-state interests. Discriminatory laws motivated by "simple economic protectionism" are subject to a "virtually per se rule of invalidity", City of Philadelphia v. New Jersey 437 U.S. 617 (1978), Dean Milk Co. v. City of Madison, Wisconsin, 340 U.S. 349 (1951), Hunt v. Washington State Apple Advertising Comm., 432 U.S. 333 (1977) which can only be overcome by a showing that the State has no other means to advance a legitimate local purpose, Maine v. Taylor, 477 U.S. 131(1986). See also Brown-Forman Distillers v. New York State Liquor Authority, 476 U.S. 573 (1986).

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Columbus Updates

1. PSV and MLS will move to dismiss lawsuit filed by Ohio Attorney General DeWine:

Friday morning, attorneys for PSV and MLS asked the courts of their intent to  file a ‘motion to dismiss.’ Essentially, this motion to dismiss will include items that state why PSV/MLS believes this case should be thrown out (not be taken to court). This is just a statement of intent to file the motion, however, in this statement, the defendants did state some of the reasons why the case should be dismissed (most reasons surround the question of constitutionality of OC 9.67 aka Modell Law):

  1. Violates dormant commerce, privileges and immunities, and contract clauses of the constitution
  2. Violates contracts clause of Ohio Constitution

The April 19th motion will give us a lot more detail on why PSV/MLS believe that law is unconstitutional. All this may sound scary, but, fear not fellow Columbus Crew SC fans! This move by the defendants in the case was expected by DeWine and his team. We all know this was going to be a long fight, at least we have our state and city leading the charge. (1)

2. PSV and MLS file a motion to stay discovery

I will preface this by saying I am not a lawyer, nor do I have a background in law; I will stay out of the legality of things. The motion to stay discovery is in coordination with their motion to dismiss. Essentially (in the mind of the defendants) , if there is no case, there is no need for discovery (which is a procedure where both parties can obtain evidence,documents, etc from each other). Columbus is in a time crunch (6-month to purchase under Modell Law), so any delay seems to be in favor of the defendants, also, without certain financial information, an accurate assessment of the value of the team cannot be made (this is critical for a potential buyer).  However, none of this surprised the plaintiffs. city attorney Zach Klein, stated “We assumed Precourt and MLS would likely file a motion to stay discovery, which is why we filed a motion seeking to pause any clock that may be running, in order to provide local investors a reasonable opportunity to make an offer to purchase the Crew. It appears Precourt and MLS do not want to provide us the documents necessary to enforce our rights under the statute and we will make our arguments to the court as to why they should.” (3)

Austin Updates

1. MLS in Austin “fan tour” kicked off on Saturday

MLS in Austin supporters group recently started a new initiative, their goal is to showcase different parts of Austin with the attempt of hyping up the soccer community. In essence, they hold monthly events/ watch parties at local bars, restaurants, and other venues. The SG president stated that group membership has seen 10% rise per month since the beginning of the year, however membership numbers were not reported. He stated their goal is to ‘bring a MLS club to Austin,’ and believes that ‘before the All-Star Game, we’ll know if the team will be here in 2019.’ (2)

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MLS officials met with potential investors last month in Columbus and toured potential stadium sites. New investors would have to buy the team and build a stadium unless Columbus is willing to pay for it with local investors but I doubt it. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

judge orders 90-day pause to suit


An Ohio judge has ordered a 90-day pause in a lawsuit that seeks to stop a Major League Soccer team’s proposed move to Austin, Texas.

The Columbus Dispatch reports Franklin County Judge Jeffrey Brown issued the order on Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed by the Ohio attorney general and the city of Columbus cites a law enacted after the original Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore in 1996. Under the law, Ohio sports teams using publicly supported facilities must give six months’ notice and allow cities or residents a chance to buy the team.

The city has argued the owners of Crew SC were vague about their notice.

Brown will meet with both parties to determine how to structure a potential sale. Both sides also must help determine the team’s value.

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Seems like COTA's released its hounds on PSV (again)...

Ask yourself why Margaret Gomez has such a hard-on for PSV using this land. It's not anywhere near her district ... Or why Ron Wattinger, an Elroy resident who lives next to COTA, has an opinion on it, or why we should give a fuck what he  thinks about it ... or why Susan Spataro, who's pushed the county to build roads for COTA, is suddenly so concerned about subsidies PSV might get, or why she thinks it's a horrible idea to use a dirty 25-year-unused lot for a stadium rather than low-income housing or creative space lol. Weird that she was never pushing for those uses before PSV became interested in it. And Wattinger and Spataro's faux concern over honesty (lol), handouts (lolol) and subsidies (lololol) is particularly adorable ... esp Wattinger's talk about COTA doing it all on their own and being a model for others (except for, among other things, that bit he didn't mention about well more than $125M COTA has already gotten in State subsidies. I guess he has no problem with that kind of subsidy). There seems to be a common thread here. Strange how much vehement, vitriolic opposition has come from this small pocket of Southeast Travis County throughout this process.



Posted: 4:46 p.m. Friday, May 11, 2018

While momentum builds for Major League Soccer in Austin, an emotional meeting Thursday night at Montopolis Recreation Center highlighted the hot debate over appropriate use of city property and giving public subsidies to private companies.
The last scheduled community engagement meeting, hosted by city officials with Precourt Sports Ventures representatives as the invited guests, was the farthest away from McKalla Place, the 24-acre, city-owned tract in North Austin being explored as a stadium site for the investor/operators of Columbus Crew SC. In October, PSV announced its intention to explore moving the Crew to Austin.

Yet the Southeast Austin gathering, attended by about 100 people, became contentious, unlike previous meetings, with people shouting one another down on a few occasions.

“We all support soccer, but I am not in favor of giving away land to private businesses,” Travis County Precinct 4 Commissioner Margaret Gómez said. “We don’t let small businesses get breaks like this; why should we do it for bigger ones?

“We pay taxes on this property. There are other potential uses for it. If the owner wants to move here that badly, he can buy his own land.”

PSV President Dave Greeley told the audience his group will privately finance a 20,000-seat “soccer grounds” in exchange for use of the McKalla site, yet the city would retain ownership of the property. He mentioned community use of the facilities, along with festivals and concerts on site.

“It sounds like a reasonable request to me,” said Bryanna Washington. “This is a negotiation, and there’s give and take. Bringing a Major League Soccer team here could be a good trade-off.”

Susan Spataro, a former county auditor who has done work for Circuit of the Americas, came armed with a two-page, bullet-point memo, urging that any deal between the city and PSV be carefully vetted. COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein aims to launch a Division 2 United Soccer League franchise next year.

“I have attended these public outreach meetings, and we’re not getting real honest answers,” Spataro said. “We need a full list of public subsidies, a comprehensive traffic impact analysis and financial arrangements that PSV and MLS have.

“Beyond that, we need to know why this soccer deal is more important than using those 24 acres for affordable housing or creative space. And why are we rushing this?”

PSV wants an agreement in June before the City Council goes on summer break because it is on a tight timeline to move the team here for next season.

Some in the audience weren’t buying the affordable housing argument at McKalla Place.

“There are other places for affordable housing,” Washington said. “This place has been vacant for 25 years. No one’s done anything to it. Now there’s a real chance to make something of the place that a lot of people can enjoy.”

Both Greeley and Austin Redevelopment Project Manager Greg Kiloh reiterated that impact studies are being done by both sides and that PSV will make an initial proposal to the city within weeks, with the city’s full analysis of McKalla due by June 1.

Greeley revealed that the site would have 1,000 to 1,200 parking places, to which East Austinite Javier Gutierrez said, “That’s nowhere near enough. What’s their plan?” Greeley told the American-Statesman that there are about 10,000 spaces within a 20-minute walk.

Marissa Camarillo admitted to mixed emotions after hearing all sides.

“People have legitimate concerns,” she said. “All in all, it’s a great opportunity. Soccer brings diversity, and we need more of that, so it would be good for the culture of Austin and good for business.

“I am concerned that if they’re leaving Ohio for a better setup, what’s to prevent them from leaving us, too?”

Ron Wattinger, a former Del Valle school board member who lives next to COTA, doesn’t want the city to give any handouts. He said that Epstein and his group did it without city help, buying their own land and paying millions in property taxes.

“That should be the model for others,” Wattinger said.

COTA receives money from the state-generated Event Trust Fund to pay Formula One rights fees.

“There is a lot to consider,” Austin soccer supporter Keegan Bradley said, “but what I go back to is this: We’re the biggest city without a major league team. That needs to change.”


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Feels like this should be in the COTA sucks thread.

MLS in Austin social at EastCiders tomorrow afternoon for anyone that wants to show up and talk to a group of guys that want a pro team in Austin and also aren’t affiliated with PSV. Only downside is that my kids will be there.

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PSV releases their concept:


The site plan includes 1,000 parking places for cars and 500 for bikes. Greeley has told the Statesman there are approximately 10,000 spaces within a 20-minute walk.

The plan shows three entry points: from Burnet Road, Braker Lane and McKalla Place. Right now only McKalla Place offers access to the site, so entries from Burnet and Braker would have to be created.

A canopy covers the entire seating bowl, which Greeley has said “is very expensive, but we need it with the heat down here.”

Just to the east of the stadium is an area marked as “music and performance space.”



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  • 3 weeks later...

If you want to know who the biggest MLS opposition is, you need look no farther than COTA and their SE Travis County attack dogs ... Margaret Gomez, Susan Spataro, Ron Wattinger (who lives by the track and brags about all the event tickets he gets free from COTA), etc. They're at it again.


Remember Susan Spataro, who works for COTA and Margaret Gomez and has been towing the COTA line in the community meetings over this? She's commissioned a pretty suspect poll, imho.

Online? 600 likely voters? LOL. I bet that's one helluva scientific poll they did. And that shit in bold is laughable, coming from who it's coming from. I mean, I have no problem with the City partnering with the team and getting a share of profits, but then shouldn't the State get a share of COTA's gate since it's kicking in about $30M a year for the racing out there? And PSV should pay for infrastructure changes? You mean like the way COTA paid for work on Elroy Road and for  building a whole new road from their north gate to Hwy 71? You mean like that, Susan? Oh ... wait.

And again, her faux concern over the property in question is sickening. There is zero chance she had one fuck to give about that land before Epstein put her on PSV's scent. And the bit about property taxes, when COTA got their property taxes lowered to a fraction of what they had been, and when they use an exemption for some wild turkeys or some shit that nobody's ever seen out there ... lulz. These fucking guys. 



Survey finds soccer stadium concerns; alternative development proposals on tap
With City Council members set to receive a proposal for constructing a 20,000-seat soccer stadium on a parcel of city-owned land in North Austin, a new survey shows Austin residents have mixed support for any agreement that would let owners of a professional sports franchise utilize the land for its own benefit.

The Strategic Research Associates survey, performed by Joshua Blank of the Texas Politics Project, was commissioned by former Travis County Auditor Susan Spataro, who has expressed concern over the way the city and Precourt Sports Ventures – owners of the Columbus Crew soccer club that is attempting to move to Austin – have engaged in negotiations over the McKalla Place property near the Domain.

The mid-May online survey of 600 likely Austin voters carries a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. The survey found that:

A plurality of voters (43 percent) think that Crew ownership should buy private land to build a stadium, with only 19 percent saying that the Austin City Council should sell public land to Crew ownership.
83 percent of Austin voters believe that the City Council, if it is to sell or lease land to Crew ownership, should do so at fair market value.
87 percent of Austin voters say that Crew ownership should have to pay property taxes (if the city sells or leases the land to the team for below market value).
84 percent of Austin voters say that the City of Austin should receive at least some of the revenue from events held at the stadium (if the city sells or leases the land to the team for below market value).
83 percent say that Crew ownership should pay for changes to local infrastructure, including rerouting local roads and the relocation of a Capital MetroRail station.
93 percent of Austin voters say that the stadium should provide enough parking for events.
The survey findings and other public input in the weeks ahead could play into the city’s decision on how to proceed with the courtship of what would be Austin’s first professional sports franchise. PSV representatives are pushing to have an agreement complete before the Council’s July recess so that it can negotiate a temporary facility to accommodate the team in time to play the 2019 season in Austin.

Spataro said that rush has removed any chance for competitive proposals to be considered for the property, which had been identified previously as a possible location for affordable housing units.

“I went to the public outreach meetings recently, and it was a PR pitch for Precourt and the hard questions were not answered,” she said. “Were they going to pay taxes? Are they going to pay market value for the land? Those questions were not answered at all, but they must be.

“This is public land that belongs to the people of Austin, so you have to treat it differently than if it were your own. If you are going to get rid of it through lease or sale, it ought to be an open and competitive process. This one wasn’t. I’m not sure there aren’t other businesses that wouldn’t say, ‘We wouldn’t mind bidding on that land, particularly if we’re going to be given any kind of break.’”

In an interview with the Austin Monitor, Spataro disclosed that she performs property tax consulting work for Circuit of the Americas, which is set to be the home site for a United Soccer League team in 2019 and would compete for the dollars of soccer fans if a Major League Soccer franchise also moved to Austin.

Spataro’s poll did find a majority of the respondents (55 percent) have a favorable view overall of the idea of Austin having a professional soccer team, similar to the results of a survey released in December by PSV.



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28 minutes ago, skipperj said:

They did a great job on getting the information about that poll out to everyone.

I bet their buddies at the Statesman and KXAN will be on top of it soon.

ETA: Or I guess you're referring to nobody knowing about their little poll so they could vote in it? Yeah. I wonder how one would have found out about that poll and how to find it to vote in it. Hmmm ... I wonder how the respondents were selected. What a joke.

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