A St. Louis judge on Wednesday fined Chiefs chief executive Clark Hunt and other NFL owners, and set a potential contempt hearing for failing to release a more image. complete their financial records as the judge had previously requested.
The 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 – and also fined Dallas owner Jerry Jones $ 6,000, New England owner Robert Kraft $ 5,000 and $ 8,000 to New York Giants owner John Mara for $ 8,000 – in a hearing Wednesday, in which he accused each of delaying providing financial statements to assess their net worth.
“It sounds to me like your clients… are dragging their feet on this,” McGraugh told an attorney for the owners, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which attended the hearing and has been covering the lawsuit since its inception in 2017. “Looks like we’re in a three-card riding game.”
A month earlier, the judge had warned that fines would come if more complete financial records did not. He kept his promise on Wednesday and set a hearing for Dec. 3 to find out why the four owners “should not be tried in contempt of court,” according to his order. He also made them responsible for the joint payment of $ 25,000 in legal fees.
Hunt and the other three were on a committee that helped explore the possibility of bringing the Rams franchise back to Los Angeles.
McGraugh also ordered Rams owner Stan Kroenke to share the records, but plaintiffs said he ultimately agreed after initially trying to avoid disclosing them.
The lawsuit alleges that the Rams’ move from St. Louis to Los Angeles cost the city millions of dollars in revenue.
As noted by the Post-Dispatch, Missouri state law allows the admission of financial records of civil defendants to help juries assess potential punitive damages.
A jury trial is scheduled to begin on January 10.