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St. Louis comptroller signs financing for Scottrade upgrade

The interior of the Scottrade Center on Jan. 2, 2017.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio
Comptroller Darlene Green has appealed a judge's ruling that required her to approve the use of public money to upgrade the Scottrade Center. The venue is home to the St. Louis Blues, and hosts dozens of other sporting events and concerts a year.

Updated at 5:10 p.m. Dec. 4 with comment from Green — St. Louis comptroller Darlene Green has decided to follow a judge’s order to issue $100 million in bonds to upgrade the Scottrade Center.

Green said in a statement that she has complied with the court ruling, and signed the required documents. But a spokesman said the bonds had not yet been issued, and Green may still appeal the ruling. Also on Monday, her attorney filed documents asking the judge to change the ruling.

“While I hope that a downgrade of the city’s credit rating does not occur, an August 2017 credit report by S&P specifically warned the financing of Scottrade Center renovations would increase our already high debt burden,” Green said in an emailed statement. “On top of that, the city’s 2018 budget had to be reduced by $17 million. This is a significant burden on our taxpayers, and that is why I called upon city leaders and the Kiel Center Partners to find another financing mechanism.”

Aldermen narrowly approved using city money to help cover the cost of the improvements at the Scottrade Center in February. Those improvements include the sound system, concessions stands, and ice-making equipment for the 23-year-old venue, which is home to the St. Louis Blues hockey team and hosts dozens of concerts and sporting events each year.

Kiel Center Partners, the building’s owner, filed suit in August in order to force Green’s hand, calling the delay “unacceptable.” St. Louis Circuit Judge Joan Moriarty had given Green until Dec. 4 to act.

Kiel Center Partners, which owns the Scottrade Center, did not immediately comment on Green's decision to sign the required documents. The move does not affect a second pending lawsuit filed over the renovations.

Moriarty will hear arguments next week in a case filed by St. Louis Alderwoman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, and and two other St. Louis residents/ The lawsuit claims it’s illegal to use public dollars to help private companies make money.

Follow Rachel on Twitter: @rlippmann

Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.