COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine released a copy of a letter he sent to Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt on Friday.
As NBC4 reported earlier this week, the state used $5 million in tax money for parking upgrades outside MAPFRE stadium several years ago. State representative Mike Duffey asked DeWine’s office to review a state law that may have an impact on the soccer club’s future.
In his letter, DeWine joins the chorus of people asking to keep the Crew in Columbus.
He also urges Precourt to follow state law, specifically Ohio Revised Code 9.67, which reads:
No owner of a professional sports team that uses a tax-supported facility for most of its home games and receives financial assistance from the state or a political subdivision thereof shall cease playing most of its home games at the facility and begin playing most of its home games elsewhere unless the owner either:
(A) Enters into an agreement with the political subdivision permitting the team to play most of its home games elsewhere;
(B) Gives the political subdivision in which the facility is located not less than six months’ advance notice of the owner’s intention to cease playing most of its home games at the facility and, during the six months after such notice, gives the political subdivision or any individual or group of individuals who reside in the area the opportunity to purchase the team.
“The facts reflect that this law applies to the Crew, and my office will enforce its provisions if and as necessary,” DeWine wrote.
The future of the team is still uncertain. Precourt has expressed plans to take his club and money to Austin, Texas. City leaders and a number of Crew faithful are committed to keeping the MLS’s first club in Columbus.