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
``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
``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
``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.