St. Louis judge fines Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, threatens contempt of court
A St. Louis judge on Wednesday fined Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt and other NFL owners and scheduled a court disregard hearing for failing to disclose full financial records, as the judge previously requested.
That request came last month as part of the discovery of a long-standing lawsuit alleging the NFL circumvented league relocation rules when the Rams left St. Louis.
Judge Christopher McGraugh fined Hunt $ 5,000 during a hearing Wednesday - as did Dallas owner Jerry Jones $ 6,000, New England owner Robert Kraft $ 5,000, and New York Giants owner John Mara $ 8,000 Dollar - in which he accused both of delaying the preparation of annual financial statements.
"It seems to me that your clients ... are dragging their feet," McGraugh told an attorney for the owners, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, who attended the hearing and covered the lawsuit since its inception in 2017. "It seems like we're in a three-card monte game."
A month earlier, the judge warned that the fines would come if there were no more complete financial records. He kept that promise on Wednesday and scheduled a hearing on December 3rd as to why the four owners "should not be held in disregard of the court" according to his order. He also blamed them for jointly paying $ 25,000 in legal fees.
Hunt and the other three were part of a committee that helped investigate the possibility of returning the Rams franchise to Los Angeles.
McGraugh also ordered Rams owner Stan Kroenke to share records, but plaintiffs said he eventually pledged after initially trying to avoid their disclosure.
The lawsuit alleges that the Rams' move from St. Louis to Los Angeles cost the city millions of dollars in revenue.
As indicated in the Post-Dispatch, Missouri State law allows civil defendants' financial records to be admitted to assist juries in assessing possible punitive damages.
A jury trial is due to begin on January 10th.
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