Pre­court, MLS open to pro­vid­ing info to Crew buy­ers, records show

The Columbus Dispatch - - Front Page - By An­drew Erick­son aer­ick­son@dis­patch.com @AErick­sonCD

Pre­court Sports Ven­tures and Ma­jor League Soc­cer are pre­pared to pro­vide “per­ti­nent in­for­ma­tion” to prospec­tive buy­ers look­ing to make a bona fide of­fer to pur­chase Crew SC, ac­cord­ing to an email con­tained in court doc­u­ments as part of a mo­tion filed by PSV and MLS coun­sel on Mon­day.

The email was sent by Marc Kessler, who is rep­re­sent­ing MLS lo­cally in the law­suit filed last month in Franklin County by Ohio At­tor­ney Gen­eral Mike DeWine and Colum­bus City At­tor­ney Zach Klein, to Brid­get Coontz, as­sis­tant chief of the con­sti­tu­tional of­fices sec­tion with DeWine’s of­fice.

It in­di­cates that When: 7:30 p.m. Satur­day Where: Mapfre Sta­dium TV: Ch. 53, Spec­trum Sports Ra­dio: WWCD-FM (102.5)

fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion might be pro­vided to prospec­tive buy­ers “sub­ject to an ap­pro­pri­ate non-dis­clo­sure agree­ment.”

“We in­tend to seek to move for­ward with that process,” Kessler wrote.

Ear­lier this month, Colum­bus Mayor An­drew Ginther wrote an open let­ter to Crew in­vestor-op­er­a­tor An­thony Pre­court ask­ing that the team’s and league’s fi­nan­cial data be made avail­able so that prospec­tive buy­ers can make a se­ri­ous of­fer to pur­chase the team.

The mo­tion filed Mon­day asks the court to de­lay dis­cov­ery — the pretrial gath­er­ing of ev­i­dence — in the state and city’s suit un­til Com­mon Pleas Judge Jeffrey M. Brown has ruled on a mo­tion ex­pected to be filed Thurs­day by PSV and MLS to dis­miss the suit on the ground that Ohio Re­vised Code Sec­tion 9.67, com­monly re­ferred to as the Art Modell Law, is not en­force­able.

The law, en­acted in 1996, states that a team re­ceiv­ing pub­lic ben­e­fit or play­ing most of its home games in a tax­sup­ported fa­cil­ity must pro­vide six months’ no­tice and pro­vide lo­cals an op­por­tu­nity to buy the team be­fore it is moved.

PSV and MLS coun­sel in­di­cated in their mo­tion that they do not be­lieve dis­cov­ery is nec­es­sary to de­ter­mine whether the Modell Law is en­force­able. They also be­lieve the use of dis­cov­ery to pro­vide fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion to pri­vate prospec­tive buy­ers of Crew SC is not a proper use of the court.

“It ap­pears Pre­court and MLS do not want to pro­vide us with the doc­u­ments nec­es­sary to en­force our rights un­der the statute, and we will make our ar­gu­ments to the court as to why they should,” Klein said in a state­ment.

It is ex­pected that both the mo­tion to stay dis­cov­ery and the ex­pected mo­tion to dis­miss the suit will take weeks, and per­haps months, to re­ceive fi­nal rul­ings.

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