ST. LOUIS — Lawyers for St. Louis have a new target for testimony in the lawsuit against the National Football League: Eric Grubman, the former league executive who oversaw relocation in 2015.
A new court filing says plaintiffs in the case, which dates to 2017 and focuses on the Rams' move the prior year from St. Louis to Los Angeles, had expected to depose Grubman, a former NFL executive vice president, on Feb. 17-18.
But attorneys for the plaintiffs say that despite agreeing to the deposition three months ago, Grubman's attorney canceled on Monday, giving no reason why.
The filing, from law firms Blitz, Bardgett & Deutsch LC and Dowd Bennett LLP, asks that the court compel Grubman's deposition, but also impose sanctions on the NFL and Los Angeles Rams, the defendants in the case who it says have repeatedly delayed giving testimony and documents. Those can include contempt of court orders, among other things.
An attorney for the NFL and the Rams, Jerry Carmody, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
The lawsuit, brought by the St. Louis Regional Convention and Sports Complex Authority (RSA), the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County, argues that the NFL violated its own relocation policy in allowing the Rams to leave St. Louis. Grubman, who left the league in 2018 and is now with a firm called Sports Entertainment Acquisition Corp, a so-called "blank check" company, featured heavily in the relocation saga.
He started appearing in St. Louis press in 2015, after the RSA proposed a north Mississippi riverfront stadium for the Rams in an effort to keep the team in town.
Grubman met with local officials seeking to keep the Rams, including a July 2015 meeting with Dave Peacock, who was co-leader of a stadium task force, an extension of the RSA, that had been convened by Gov. Jay Nixon.
By October 2015, reports indicated Grubman had turned control of the Los Angeles relocation effort over to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and a relocation committee. Even so, he appeared in St. Louis for a highly publicized town hall with the public on Oct. 27, 2015.
He said during that meeting, held at what's now the Stifel Theatre in downtown St. Louis, that the NFL had no role in the decision to bypass a local public vote on stadium financing, a key part of the plan to build the riverfront stadium. Grubman also said that the league's relocation guidelines weren't a checklist of tasks, and that it wasn't required that Rams owner Stan Kroenke be at the negotiating table.
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