Movers pack up Speros' equipment, but not his troubles Vans loaded at stadium

dispute with city lingers

March 23, 1996|By Kevin Eck | Kevin Eck,CONTRIBUTING WRITER Sun staff writers Michael James, Eric Siegel and Mike Preston contributed to this article.

Several Atlas Van Lines trucks with Quebec license plates have been moving office equipment out of the Baltimore Stallions' offices the past few days, but nothing has been settled in the dispute between the city and Stallions owner Jim Speros.

A city lawyer handling the negotiations with Speros said yesterday that he didn't know why moving vans were at Memorial Stadium or what Speros' intentions are.

The city's pending lawsuits against Speros have not been settled, nor has the Stallions owner turned over the keys to the Memorial Stadium administrative offices, said the lawyer, Richard E. Kagan.

"I really don't know what's behind this," Kagan said.

The city has filed lawsuits against Speros, who is moving his CFL team to Montreal, for $73,000 in back rent and more than $1 million for a loan and for security and traffic control services during Stallions games.

Constables taped a "failure to pay rent" notice on Speros' corporate office door at the stadium over three weeks ago. City ** officials then ordered Speros to appear in Rent Court on March 5, but the hearing was postponed after Speros requested a jury trial.

Speros, who insists his lease is still valid through 1998, is to meet with city officials again on Monday in an attempt to reach a settlement.

He wants to be reimbursed for $1 million he says he spent on renovations to Memorial Stadium.

At a news conference in Montreal yesterday, Speros said a settlement offer was sent to Baltimore on Tuesday, but no response was given. The settlement offer reportedly calls for Fine Host Corp., which had concession rights to Stallions games at Memorial Stadium for the five-year term of the team's lease, to maintain those rights for NFL games.

Under the settlement proposal, Speros said, Fine Host would acquire his portion of concession revenues over the next three years and use it to pay off the city and his other creditors.

If a settlement is not reached early next week, Speros said he will sue the city and the state of Maryland.

"It takes more than a notice slapped on the door to evict Jim LTC Speros," Speros told The Sun two weeks ago. "My lease is a major asset and I don't want to relinquish it."

At that time, Speros also said he may keep the lease active and is considering buying a Major League Soccer team that would play there.

Because of Speros' initial refusal to vacate the premises, Art Modell's new NFL team has been unable to move in.

"It's good for us that they are leaving so we can make the stadium play-worthy by NFL standards," said David Modell, vice president of Baltimore's NFL team.

Speros, meanwhile, also may have some financial problems in Montreal.

A report in The Montreal Gazette on Wednesday said the city of Montreal and Quebec government won't approve $2.75 million in promised loans to the team (renamed the Alouettes) until a thorough background check of Speros is conducted.

"I have no problem," Speros said. "My attorneys will have my financial statements, the financial statements of my partners, which will show we're not only adequate, we're strong.

"There's only one way that I know how to do things and that's first class and to do them right. I'm building the same caliber of operation as when we were in Baltimore."

Pub Date: 3/23/96

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