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Government & Politics

Ohio's 'Modell Law' Gets Its First Test vs. the Columbus Crew

Soccer team Columbus Crew
Rick Dikeman
The Columbus Crew plays a game in its stadium in 2005.

The lawsuit filed by the state over the possible move of Columbus’ major league professional soccer franchise could be the first test of a law that’s more than 20 years old. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on the suit involving the 1996 measure passed after owner Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

The Modell Law says a team that receives taxpayer support can’t move without getting permission of its home city or giving six months’ notice to give the community time to potentially buy the team. Republican Rep. Mike Duffey of Worthington says the potential move of the Columbus Crew to Texas could show the law works and doesn’t conflict with federal or state laws.

“If this law is upheld in Ohio, it will produce a road map for other states on how to deal with professional sports teams that are going to seek the public money to subsidize themselves but want to then later pack up and go somewhere else.”

The lawsuit says Crew owner Anthony Precourt has received millions in benefits such parking upgrades and tax exempt land for the Crew’s stadium.