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Patriots plan hits hurdle

Prior Coverage

-- JUNE 23 --
Patriots look to win over town on stadium

-- JUNE 9 --
43 of 80 suites sold for proposed stadium

-- MAY 25 --
Stadium bill signed, but seat sales lag

Archives
Impasse on steam plant site clears
-04/02/99
Finneran offers idea on Patriots stadium
-03/25/99
In Conn., Patriots' stadium deal opponents plan lawsuit
-03/20/99
Hartford steam plant defends its moving cost
-03/19/99
Patriots stadium plan threatened
-03/18/99
Kraft has new suitor in Houston
-03/11/99
Patriots dealt setback on Conn. site
-02/24/99
Moving fee could trip Patriots
-02/17/99
Conn. must meet April 2 deadline
-02/13/99
How Kraft's Mass. dream fizzled
-12/16/98
Krafts seen winning generous deal
-12/16/98
Conn. OK's deal
-12/16/98
Activist skeptical
-12/29/98
More stadium fallout
-12/26/98
Whither Foxboro
-12/19/98

In Conn., Patriots' stadium deal opponents plan lawsuit

By Associated Press, March 20, 1999

HARTFORD -- Opponents of the deal to bring the New England Patriots to Hartford said their only alternative to stopping the plan is through the courts. Yesterday, they began the process to take them there.

The Connecticut Citizens Action Group, the state's largest citizens watchdog organization, is one of nine plaintiffs of a lawsuit served yesterday afternoon on the offices of the governor, the attorney general, the city treasurer, the governor's budget director, and the NFL team.

New Haven attorney Frank B. Cochran, who represents CCAG, the Stop the Stadium! group, and seven individuals, plans to file the lawsuit in Hartford Superior Court by Tuesday after all of the defendants receive copies of the complaint.

``We are not opposed to the Patriots coming to Hartford, we are not opposed to the development of Adriaen's Landing. We are opposed to the deal being too sweet for [team owner Robert] Kraft and the Patriots and that they are making a mockery of environmental issues,'' said Tom Swan, executive director of CCAG. ``This deal has so many rats built into it, in medieval times, it would have been called the plague.''

Stop the Stadium! postponed a news conference yesterday in front of the courthouse when more plaintiffs signed on at the last minute, said group spokeswoman Donna Donovan.

``I think it's a good thing that there's a high level of plaintiffs,'' said Donovan. ``It's unfortunate when citizens of a state have to sue the government when the government doesn't represent them.''

But the state has vowed to fight back.

``We plan to fight it vigorously and aggressively because we think that there is simply no basis for it in law or fact,'' Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said yesterday.

Dean Pagani, spokesman for Governor John G. Rowland, said the lawsuit is not surprising, but it is also not substantiated. Rowland was out of the state yesterday.

``From what we can tell it doesn't seem to have any merit,'' said Pagani. ``It's hard to imagine a court would reverse the decision.''

Opponents argue that the lawsuit is their only alternative.

``In one way it's fortunate that we have some potential for judicial remedy,'' said consumer advocate Ralph Nader, who helped draft the lawsuit. ``This is a challenge to the two-party duopoly -- the Tweedle Dee Republicans and the Tweedle Dum Democrats.''

Nader said the stadium project will never get started. He cited environmental concerns, the state's credit rating, costs that will exceed the budget, and widespread opposition as the chief reasons.

Cochran has said the stadium, which is exempt from regulatory provisions normally associated with a state project, fails to provide people the opportunity to participate in the administrative process needed for final approvals.

``The purpose of the lawsuit is not to delay. It is to defeat it. It is to defeat this act,'' he said of the bill approved by the Legislature that allows the state to finance the stadium.



 


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