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Ohio's 'Modell Law' Gets Its First Test vs. the Columbus Crew

Soccer team Columbus Crew
Rick Dikeman
The Columbus Crew plays a game in its stadium in 2005.

The lawsuit filed by the state over the possible move of Columbus’ major league professional soccer franchise could be the first test of a law that’s more than 20 years old. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports on the suit involving the 1996 measure passed after owner Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

The Modell Law says a team that receives taxpayer support can’t move without getting permission of its home city or giving six months’ notice to give the community time to potentially buy the team. Republican Rep. Mike Duffey of Worthington says the potential move of theColumbus Crew to Texas could show the law works and doesn’t conflict with federal or state laws.

“If this law is upheld in Ohio, it will produce a road map for other states on how to deal with professional sports teams that are going to seek the public money to subsidize themselves but want to then later pack up and go somewhere else.”

The lawsuit says Crew owner Anthony Precourt has received millions in benefits such parking upgrades and tax exempt land for the Crew’s stadium.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.