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McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

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  • McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

    By Bill McClellan


    "We both knew people sometimes change, and lovers sometimes rearrange, and nothing's quite as sure as change."

    — The Mamas & the Papas

    Rams owner Stan Kroenke is something of a villain these days, but really, it's not his fault. He is only doing what the lease for the Edward Jones Dome allows him to do — and that is demand that the football stadium be brought to a top-tier level.

    But we are not going to do that. We can't. We shouldn't. We won't.

    Which means, we think, that Kroenke and the Rams might follow Albert Pujols to the left coast.

    So we're starting the hate-fest early.

    I do not intend to be a spoilsport. I am firmly behind the populist crusade to stop public money from going to a billionaire. Not that we have much choice. We're broke. So we might as well declare that we are acting on principle.

    Occupy the Edward Jones Dome!

    What's more, Kroenke has become a surly character. Not long ago, he talked about how he has put a lot of "jack" into this market. The implication was that we are not grateful enough for all that he's done.

    He owns an NBA basketball team, an NHL hockey team, an MSL soccer team, and he has controlling interest in a soccer team in England. He owns the most upscale winery in Napa Valley, and he has ranches in Wyoming and Montana and the largest working cattle ranch in Canada.

    That ranch is in British Columbia, and Kroenke is involved in a dispute with the locals. They claim that Kroenke has illegally blocked access to two public lakes that the locals have fished for generations. The ranch manager argues that the ranch has stocked the lake with rainbow trout and anyone who fishes them is stealing.

    B.C. fishermen challenge billionaire ranchers for lake access - British Columbia - CBC News

    Kroenke has become a hard man to like.

    It was not always so.

    I remember the day he was introduced to St. Louis. It was at a press conference on a Monday afternoon in October 1993. Our plan to get an expansion football team was unraveling. We had the stadium. We had the name of the team — the Stallions. But the potential ownership group had broken apart when James Orthwein walked away and took his money with him.

    We needed a new Daddy Warbucks, and we needed him quickly. We found E. Stanley Kroenke.

    Actually, Andy Craig found him. Craig was then the head of Boatmen's Bank and the chairman of Civic Progress.

    If you want a trip down memory lane, savor the first sentence of a news story that appeared the day after Kroenke was introduced: "If some fine day, when the St. Louis Stallions are going bad and E. Stanley Kroenke asks himself, 'How did I get into this?' he can blame Andrew Craig."

    The reporter who wrote that lighthearted story was Fred Lindecke.

    But back to the press conference. Craig introduced Kroenke, who was new to the world of professional sports. He seemed uncomfortable as he looked out at the rabble. He spoke haltingly and said he was a private person who valued his privacy.

    One of the television reporters shouted, "How much you worth, Stan?"

    After laughing uneasily for a moment, he realized we were waiting for an answer. "Well, that's certainly a personal question." He hesitated. "I appreciate the question."

    Craig rescued him. He said the new ownership group was made up of people who were substantial.

    I love that word. It's so much more descriptive than rich. I could win the lottery and be rich, but I wouldn't be substantial.

    I wrote a column about the press conference and noted that everybody else in the group had the air of self-confidence that great wealth or power confers. "Self-assured" comes to mind, I wrote, if not "arrogant." Only Kroenke seemed "befuddled."

    You know what happened. Charlotte and Jacksonville got expansion teams. We were left with a giant dome.

    A Rocky Mountain News columnist wrote, "It is now official: St. Louis has become the Midwest capital of tractor pulling and mud-bog racing."

    Kroenke seemed destined to be a footnote in the city's history — the befuddled billionaire who almost owned a football team.

    But everything changes. Craig cashed out and sold the bank. Lindecke retired and became the leader of the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums. The Rocky Mountain News went out of business. We lured the Rams to town, and Kroenke became a minority partner, then owner. Along the way, he quit being befuddled and became self-assured, if not arrogant.

    As for us, we might learn to love tractor pulling and mud-bog racing.

  • #2
    Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

    This guy is proof of what is wrong with the press. Feedom of the press should not be allowed to people who have a vested interest in one side of a "story". If I had anything to do with the RAMS FO, this guy would not have a press pass to anything related to the RAMS. He has lost his "freedom of the liars" rights when he voices his personal opinion instead of reporting on a story. As a matter of fact, this would not be a story if you removed his personal opinion.


    gap

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

      The fact that you dont agree with the point of the article (and i agree with you that the article itself is crapola) does not mean that the guy has lost his right to freedom of the press, which by its very definition is the right to express whatever views and opinions that he wants, regardless of whether others agree with them. Sure, the Rams can cut off his media access if they want, but it would be a stupid decision in my view. Are the Rams going to cut off media access for people that are not employed by them that write things or say things that are critical of the team? As far as i know, that is basically unprecedented. People the Rams hire should not be publicly critical of the team. That is a different story since the Rams are signing the paychecks. But cutting off the media because they write their views? That is downright unamerican. Freedom of speech is a fundemental core of this country. You dont have to agree with the guy and you dont even have to listen to him or read his views, but that does not mean that he doesnt have the right to express them.

      Ramming speed to all

      general counsel

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

        Once again, biting the hand.
        Look away. I'm hideous. __ Cozmo Kramer

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

          By the way, Kroenke paid several hundred million dollars to buy control of the team. He has every right to get the benefit of all contractual obligations that are favorable to him, including the provisions in the lease for the dome. The city made a deal to get the rams to move to st louis. The city had sophisticated advisors who were surely aware that over time, renovations on the dome could be very expensive. Kroenke should give up his contract rights because the city and state are broke? That doesnt seem fair to me and i dont care if he has a trillion dollars. I am a huge believer in freedom of contract. No one forced the city of st louis to sign a deal to get football back to the city that created a huge contingent liability in the future. Once they signed the deal, they should be prepared to live by it, in the same way that the rams are obligated to pay rent as per the terms of the lease.

          ramming speed to all

          general counsel

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

            St. Louis; the official Midwest Capital of tractor pulling and mud-bog racing. That's funny stuff.

            What the hell is mud-bog racing??
            [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_4324_1458960283388_621[/ATTACH]

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

              the move is coming!!!!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                Rams owner Stan Kroenke is something of a villain these days, but really, it's not his fault. He is only doing what the lease for the Edward Jones Dome allows him to do — and that is demand that the football stadium be brought to a top-tier level.

                But we are not going to do that. We can't. We shouldn't. We won't.
                We won't? Not live up to the terms of the original agreement? Times are tough, but this would not be a winning strategy for St. Louis IMO. As GC mentioned, the Rams lived up to their part of the deal and moved to St. Louis, bringing in a substantial revenue stream for the city. If St. Louis does what the McClellan suggests, the Rams will most likely move to a new city and get a new state of the art stadium, while St. Louis will be left with a huge hole in the middle of downtown, which is only going to get deeper and darker.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                  Originally posted by general counsel View Post
                  The fact that you dont agree with the point of the article (and i agree with you that the article itself is crapola) does not mean that the guy has lost his right to freedom of the press, which by its very definition is the right to express whatever views and opinions that he wants, regardless of whether others agree with them. Sure, the Rams can cut off his media access if they want, but it would be a stupid decision in my view. Are the Rams going to cut off media access for people that are not employed by them that write things or say things that are critical of the team? As far as i know, that is basically unprecedented. People the Rams hire should not be publicly critical of the team. That is a different story since the Rams are signing the paychecks. But cutting off the media because they write their views? That is downright unamerican. Freedom of speech is a fundemental core of this country. You dont have to agree with the guy and you dont even have to listen to him or read his views, but that does not mean that he doesnt have the right to express them.

                  Ramming speed to all

                  general counsel
                  Agree to disagree.

                  If he was truely a reporter, he should report both sides of the story, and let the readers decide. What he did here was preach, and try to sway people to his vision. This is NOT reporting. Accepting this as reporting, and standing under freedom of the press, is one of the things destroying this once great country. I don't disagree with his freedom of speech, but he shouldn't call his opinion a story. It is only his opinion. Remove his press pass until he starts reporting instead of preaching.


                  gap

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                  • #10
                    Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                    Originally posted by theodus69 View Post
                    the move is coming!!!!!!!
                    Yep. Do you think Denver can support two teams? Probably better than bancrupt SoCal. He'd have to move there because he already owns other sport franchises in Colorado.


                    gap

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                      If he was writing his opinion and his opinion was about what a great job the rams are doing rebuilding the franchise, would you want to revoke his press credentials? You are being influenced by the fact that you disagree with his opinion. I agree its opinion, not fact, but freedom of the press and freedom of speech is not limited in a constitutional sense to reporting of facts. An awful large percentage of what you read in the news, sports or otherwise, has opinion and bias running through it. If your point is that it should be on the editorial page, that is between him and his editors, but i dont think that is a reason to revoke his right to express his opinion. He is not slandering or libeling anyone, he is not risking national security and he is not yelling fire in a crowded movie house and he is hardly inciting a riot. Thus, i dont see any limit on his speech as necessary. The free market should govern this. If people hate his writing, they will complain to the editors, who will presumably fire him for alienating his readership or audience.

                      ramming speed to all

                      general counsel

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Journalism is dead.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                          Originally posted by AvengerRam View Post
                          Journalism is dead.
                          It's hard to blame them when they need to put food on the table. We just need to be smart to differentiate which is a quality article and which one is poorly written out of someone's arsehole.


                          ♪ R.I.P. Nujabes ♫

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                            Originally posted by gap View Post
                            Probably better than bancrupt SoCal.
                            gap
                            Please don't confuse the misspend of our liberal leaders with the cash on hand in these lovely cities...
                            Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills, Malibu, Rolling Hills, Palos Verdes Estates, Hidden Hills, Newport Coast, Newport Beach, Calabasas, Irvine...We have cash in So Cal, plenty of it!
                            "The disappointment of losing is huge!"

                            Jack Youngblood

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: McClellan: 'Befuddled' billionaire may yet leave us with an empty Dome

                              The Los Angeles Rams. Where have I heard that before?
                              :helmet:

                              Comment

                              Related Topics

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                              • Tampa_Ram
                                A great article on Kroenke
                                by Tampa_Ram
                                Found this over in another rams forum. Enjoy


                                The Most Powerful Man In Sports ... You Had No Idea, Did You? Stan Kroenke

                                SPORTS' ULTIMATE KINGPIN IS AN UNASSUMING REAL ESTATE TYCOON FROM CENTRAL MISSOURI WHOSE PROPERTIES, FROM THE NFL'S RAMS TO THE PREMIER LEAGUE'S ARSENAL, ARE WORTH SOME $4 BILLION. HE BOUGHT THEM FOR SHEER LOVE OF THE GAMES—AND BECAUSE THEY PAY OFF
                                L. Jon Wertheim
                                The Directors Box in London's Emirates Stadium gives new zest to the phrase luxury suite. Arriving on a private elevator, guests are greeted by an attractive hostess, shown to tables with floral centerpieces in the opposing team's colors, and seated in chairs upholstered in leather that has been dyed Arsenal red and embossed with the club's logo. They eat smoked fish imported from Scandinavia, burrata cheese from Italy and lamb from the British countryside, all washed down with champagne from France. As the Gunners' players and 60,000-plus fans, most swaddled in red scarves, brave a cold, rainy, heartlessly gray afternoon, the denizens of the Directors Box bask in warmth, comfort and conviviality.

                                The received wisdom that soccer truly is the world's sport is confirmed by the cast of characters in the box. British dignitaries mingle with soccer royalty. Sir Alex Ferguson, the manager of Manchester United, sits at a back table. A mere half hour before the English Premier League match between Arsenal and Queens Park Rangers kicks off, the Gunners' own manager, Arsène Wenger, a mystical Frenchman, makes an appearance, shaking hands with other guests, who include a marketing executive from Dubai, a knot of Russian businessmen and, improbably, DeMaurice Smith, head of the NFL Players Association. As if the theme of globalization and multinationalism needed further reinforcement, LED screens ringing the perimeter of the pitch flash a team diversity initiative, ARSENAL FOR EVERYONE, translated into various languages—Hebrew, Arabic and Korean among them.

                                As the game is about to start, the most important figure in this international barony walks through the suite doors: a lean man wearing a gray pinstripe suit that looks to be flannel, a white shirt, a solid black tie and cowboy boots, his ruddy face set off by a caterpillar of a mustache. His entrance could scarcely be less conspicuous—he's talking quietly to another man, who turns out to be his son—yet it causes an immediate drop in ambient volume. Enos Stanley Kroenke, a 65-year-old son of Mora, Mo. (pop. 491)—"The Ozark/Osage region," according to him; "about 16 miles south of Sedalia," according to Wikipedia—has arrived, bearing a complement of toothpicks in his breast pocket.

                                Kroenke soon grabs a black Nike ski parka and ventures onto the exposed terrace, where he can better concentrate on the game. His hands forming...
                                -12-11-2012, 12:31 PM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Kroenke Speaks Out, But Not About Lease
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Kroenke speaks out, but not about lease

                                BY JIM THOMAS
                                Wednesday, March 28, 2012

                                PALM BEACH, FLA. • For openers, Stan Kroenke got his obligatory "no comment" out of the way with respect to the stadium lease situation in St. Louis.

                                "There’s a process," he told the Post-Dispatch. "We continue to honor the process. And we have agreed with the parties involved that we won’t do any public commenting on this."

                                For Kroenke’s Rams, that process currently involves putting together the team’s proposal for "first-tier" improvements at the Edward Jones Dome. That proposal must be sent to the Convention and Visitors Commission no later than May 1.

                                When asked how involved he was in the proposal process, Kroenke bristled slightly.

                                "I’m the owner of the team," he said. "Unless you haven’t noticed, I’ve been involved 20 years. I’ve put a lot of my life, not just my personal (finances) at risk for this enterprise. And that might be something good to mention sometimes."

                                For Kroenke that was more a general reaction to the perception by some that he isn’t totally involved in the Rams’ franchise. That he doesn’t attend league meetings.

                                As for anyone who makes the latter assertion, Kroenke replies, "I’d say that’s someone who doesn’t attend league meetings themselves, and doesn’t know much about league meetings."

                                Kroenke also pointed out that he’s a member of the NFL’s broadcasting committee and its NFL Network committee. And to the chagrin of some nervous Rams fans, he has been a member of the league’s Los Angeles Stadium working group as recently as 2011. (There is no mention of that group in the league’s current listing of committees.)

                                Not the sentimental type, Kroenke does take pride in helping to bring football back to St. Louis in 1995, and to the eastern side of his home state. But that doesn’t mean he won’t drive a hard bargain in the lease negotiations.

                                From a Rams perspective, the "first-tier" requirements were agreed upon by the CVC and the St. Louis negotiating team before the team moved to the Midwest in 1995. From the Rams’ standpoint, St. Louis got a "mulligan" in 2004, the first milepost date when the stadium was supposed to meet "first-tier" standards as one of the league’s top eight facilities. Instead, about $30 million in stadium improvements took place a few years after the 10-season milepost in ’04. It doesn’t appear there will be any mulligans this time around.

                                When asked if he had any message for the fans of St. Louis, Kroenke replied: "Tell them we’re working hard to have a quality product."

                                But will he still be saying that in, say 2025, about the "St. Louis" Rams?

                                "Hopefully, if we’re still around...
                                -03-28-2012, 10:03 AM
                              • r8rh8rmike
                                Burwell: Nixon's The One For Rams Talks
                                by r8rh8rmike
                                Burwell: Nixon’s the one for Rams talks

                                9 hours ago • BY BRYAN BURWELL • bburwell@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8185

                                Unlike the good folks of CAVE (Citizens Against Virtually Everything) and the conspiracy theorists around town who are on constant watch for falling skies, Sasquatch footprints and moving vans sneaking into Earth City under the cover of darkness, I’m still fairly convinced of a few rather important things:

                                1. The Rams aren’t moving .

                                2. A new stadium is coming.

                                3. And it’s very good news that Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon now is running point on stadium talks with Rams owner Stan Kroenke, because it’s going to take someone with Nixon’s political smarts to engineer the sort of complicated deal that will satisfy both reluctant taxpayers and a calculating businessman such as Kroenke.

                                Right now, though, there’s this unsettling public perception is that even if Nixon is the most qualified man for the job, he can’t get anything done if he’s talking to himself.

                                A lot of local politicians are convinced that so far the governor hasn’t had any more success trying to unlock the greatest mystery of the universe (What does Kroenke want?) than anyone else who’s preceded him.

                                I think they’re wrong. Nixon might not know what Kroenke wants, but I suspect he has a darned good idea what he should want. And that’s half the battle. There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy skepticism when it comes to gauging the clandestine business intents of rich and powerful people.

                                With his understandably strategic, but incredibly annoying silence on the subject, the secretive Rams owner certainly has done his part to stir the fears of nervous Chicken Littles who are convinced that his silent ways are evidence that he eventually will take his valuable NFL franchise out of St. Louis.

                                But here’s another reason why I think having Nixon in the room becomes an advantage. Others have viewed Kroenke’s silence with nothing but consternation and contempt. But sometimes, you have to consider it as a useful tool in the negotiating game.

                                Just because Kroenke strategically is procrastinating doesn’t mean you have to as well. Sooner or later when the Rams’ owner decides it’s advantageous to say or do something, Nixon and his people have to be ready with a powerful and effective response.

                                It’s one of the reasons the governor already has secured the services of the multinational investment banking firm Goldman Sachs at the princely sum of a $20,000-per-month retainer. The firm will advise the state on ways to create new revenue and finance a new stadium.

                                We’ve been saying for more than a year that the best thing that could happen regarding these stadium talks is to get the people from the city government and the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission out of the room as quickly as possible...
                                -07-14-2013, 04:01 PM
                              • AvengerRam
                                I think Stan Kroenke will sell the Rams within 5-7 years.
                                by AvengerRam
                                Forbes magazine just reported that the Rams are the 6th most valuable franchise in the NFL (estimated at $3B). Prior to the move to Los Angeles, the Rams were among the least valuable teams.

                                And that's three years before Stanadu is scheduled to open. Once it does, I would presume that the value of the franchise will increase further... but there will ultimately be a peak. At that point, I would not be at all surprised to see Stan Kroenke sell the Rams.

                                I say this because I don't think that Kroenke is like Jerry Jones or Robert Kraft. He doesn't appear to love his team like they do. He doesn't appear to be someone who builds his public persona around his team.

                                My impression is that, for Kroenke, its a business.

                                If I'm correct, than it would stand to reason that Kroenke would treat the team like any other investment. You buy it when its price is low, you invest in it to maximize its value, and you sell it when it appear to have reached it peak.

                                If I'm right, I hope the next owner is someone who has Jones' passion and Kraft's ability to avoid meddling.

                                I wouldn't miss Kroenke and, perhaps more importantly, I don't think Kroenke would miss the Rams.
                                -09-19-2017, 12:39 PM
                              • viper
                                Burwell: Kroenke plotting changes for Rams
                                by viper
                                By: Bryan Burwell


                                SAN FRANCISCO
                                • By now the details are no longer very important. Let's just say that Sunday in Candlestick Park for the Rams was just like any other NFL Sunday — another bad loss in another lost season that makes every game day feel like a regurgitated Groundhog's Day nightmare for this really bad football team.


                                By the end of this 26-0 loss to the San Francisco *****, the 2-10 Rams were doing what they always do, marching glumly off the field while another team celebrated. The Niners were prancing around Candlestick doing all sorts of silly dances and waving and blowing kisses to their giddy fans after clinching the NFC West title. And while the Niners partied, the Rams were forced to ponder their increasingly sorry state, which appears to be getting more hopeless as the weeks go by.


                                This may have been the worst loss of all, because the Rams had absolutely no chance of ever winning this game. Seriously. No chance at all. Not when your injury-plagued, patchwork offense is physically incapable of scoring. I'm not trying to be flippant, either. The Rams' offense is now averaging less than a touchdown per game, which should not be possible in professional football. But on Sunday, the Rams' offense had one offensive possession (out of 12) all game that was over five plays and never came within 37 yards of the end zone all day long. Oops, I said I wouldn't bore you with details.


                                At this point in this franchise's unsteady history, the only thing that any of you really want to know is when and how this bad football will ever end. There's only one man who can provide those answers and his name is Stan Kroenke, the majority owner, who is not exactly reclusive but does not particularly regard public attention as essential as air or water.


                                While it's popular to characterize Kroenke as some indifferent absentee owner, nothing could be further from the truth. As I've told you before, he's almost always around on game days but usually slips out some back door in the locker room before reporters can get close. But Sunday, Kroenke decided not to make a hasty exit. Instead, he lingered in the cramped visitors' locker room, slowly navigating his way over and around half-filled equipment bags, discarded balls of tape, helmets and shoulder pads. The man who hasn't said very much publicly about the state of his woeful football team quietly moved from locker stall to locker stall, shaking hands and whispering in the ears of his dispirited employees.


                                With some players, it was nothing more than a firm handshake and a quick word. With others, Kroenke lingered...
                                -12-05-2011, 09:53 AM
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