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Sunday, June 26, 2005 

On The Prowl

The NFL and the Cincinnati Bengals are facing an antitrust suit brought by Hamilton County, Ohio.

The county alleges that the Bengals repeatedly misled taxpayers, claiming the team needed a new stadium to be profitable and to remain in the city. Taxpayers approved a one-half cent surtax to finance the $450 million Paul Brown Stadium, where the Bengals have played the past five seasons.

Current county commissioners contend the Bengals are not entitled to the advantageous lease they negotiated with the previous board.

The latest news was that the court has required that the NFL turn over financial statements and documents for the past 15 years from every team. That certainly doesn't sound like something the NFL would want to do given that their collective bargaining agreement with the players is about to expire. But there's a chance that the case, scheduled for trial in September, will be delayed or not held at all:

The Bengals have asked U.S. District Court Judge S. Arthur Spiegel to throw out the county's lawsuit, saying it was not filed within the four-year statute of limitations from the time the lease agreement was signed in 1997.

The NFL has a bad track record when these cases reach court, so they'll be pushing hard to get this one thrown out.

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