St. Louis solves lease snag, to bid for L.A. Rams

September 16, 1994|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Writer

St. Louis jumped back into the bidding for the Los Angeles Rams last night when beer distributor Jerry Clinton agreed to sell his share of the lease for the city's new domed stadium and convention center.

A group of civic and political leaders agreed to pay Clinton $4 million for his 30 percent of the lease. He'll get $4 million more if St. Louis gets a team and he's not involved.

That clears the way for St. Louis to resume negotiations with John Shaw, executive vice president of the Rams, to bring the team to that city.

Shaw had broken off negotiations because Clinton's control of the lease was blocking other St. Louis groups, including Wal-Mart heir Stan Kroenke, from getting involved.

Former Sen. Thomas Eagleton said: "If we didn't get this lease resolved this week or next, school was out. The Rams are very pleased because they have been encouraging us to have a clear lease."

The deal was made two days before Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Gov. William Donald Schaefer are expected to meet with Shaw and Rams owner Georgia Frontiere. The meeting is set for tomorrow.

Rep. Richard Gephardt said: "Baltimore is tough competition. I would never underestimate the strength of that town."

St. Louis, though, has an advantage because commissioner Paul Tagliabue and Washington Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke are attempting to block the Rams from moving to Baltimore. Cooke is attempting to build a stadium in Laurel and doesn't want a team in Baltimore.

If Baltimore fails to get the Rams, Angelos is expected to bid for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who, since the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse, are under the control of a three-person board of trustees.

Although the trustees announced Sunday that the team is not for sale, it is likely they will take bids once the season is over.

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