St. Louis bid seeks help from Marylander Landow

October 12, 1993|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Staff Writer

A Marylander once active in Baltimore's efforts to land an NFL expansion franchise is considering joining the rival bid of St. Louis.

Nathan Landow, a Bethesda-based developer and former chairman of the state Democratic Party, said he was approached recently by Jerry Clinton, the head of St. Louis' expansion group.

"I have talked with Jerry and others involved in St. Louis," said Landow. He said he expects to make a decision by the end of the week.

Clinton recently became majority investor of the St. Louis partnership after the reduction of James Busch Orthwein's investment. Orthwein, an Anheuser-Busch Co. heir who owns the New England Patriots, went from chairman to a minority investor in St. Louis.

Clinton has been scrambling to fill financial holes, and knew Landow through politics.

"I would be doing it more or less to help a friend," Landow said.

Clinton was unavailable for comment late yesterday, but earlier in the day told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he is still talking with a number of prospective investors, some local but most not.

"I don't think there are too many more people in town" to talk to, Clinton said. He said, if needed, he would be willing to step down as controlling partner in favor of a major investor.

"I talked to Nate Landow a long time ago and, frankly, I didn't think he had any interest," Clinton added. "If he wants to, that would be great."

But Landow said the St. Louis group is close to solving its problems and predicted Clinton will continue as controlling partner with several new investors. Clinton's group already includes ex-Chicago Bear Walter Payton and a number of others.

Landow assembled an investment group for a Baltimore team early in the expansion process.

The group was listed as a potential owner in the city's 1991 application to the NFL. But it decided later that the cost was too high and never followed up with its own application, Landow said. He endorsed Malcolm Glazer, one of two prospective owners seeking a team for the city.

Landow said his interest in the St. Louis partnership, which would be as a minority investor, would not detract from his support for Baltimore.

"It is out of the demographic area of interest where my heart has been," Landow said. "It's more or less a friend calling to inquire if I have an interest. Although I'm still considering it, my desire is leaning toward Baltimore getting a franchise."

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