Arrow-right Camera


Court Upholds Stadium Financing U.S. Supreme Court Says Usage Of Public Money Ok For M’S Park

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21, 1998

The financing plan to build the Seattle Mariners’ new ballpark withstood a U.S. Supreme Court challenge as the justices turned away a claim that the use of public money was wrongly approved.

Opponents of the financing plan say they’ll try to change the state law that made it possible.

It was a state Supreme Court ruling that was allowed to stand by the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday. The state justices upheld the use of King County’s $336 million bond issue to finance the stadium.

Tuesday’s ruling was “no great surprise” because the Supreme Court accepts so few cases for a full review, said opponent Chris Van Dyk.

In its appeal, Taxpayers of King County contended it was not treated fairly in the state courts.

The state Supreme Court, by a 7-2 vote last June, said opponents had offered “no compelling arguments” to support their claim the financing scheme for the $414 million ballpark is unlawful.

The ruling allowed construction to continue on the ballpark, located south of the Kingdome. Club officials have said they hope to open the ballpark by mid-1999.

Lawyers for Taxpayers of King County said the state courts’ rulings “show favoritism and prejudgment for the county,” the ball club and the public facilities district created to supervise construction of the park.

The appeal said the Washington Supreme Court ruling “capped the judicial deprivation of taxpayers’ rights.” It also contended the dispute is of national importance.

“When the highest court in a state approves special rules and favored treatment for owners of a professional sports team while denying citizens and taxpayers an impartial and fair hearing on the propriety of public subsidies for them, it sends a message to the rest of the country that federal constitutional requirements need not be seriously considered,” the appeal argued.

Tags: baseball

Click here to comment on this story »