The Cincinnati Bengals today asked a court to enforce its right to manage Paul Brown Stadium that was set forth in the Stadium Lease signed three years ago. The suit was filed on behalf of the Bengals and Paul Brown Stadium Ltd. ("PBSL"), a company established by the Bengals to operate Paul Brown Stadium. The contract gives the Bengals the clear right to manage the new stadium:
- "Team and County shall enter into a management agreement...which shall provide that Team...shall...have complete responsibility for the general management and operation of the Stadium Complex on a 365-day year-round basis."
In reliance upon the County's commitments and in order to fulfill the Bengals' lease obligation, PBSL has hired 16 full-time people. These individuals are dedicated solely to developing a first class maintenance program, to overseeing all aspects of stadium operations, and to ensuring appropriate financial controls. The Bengals and PBSL are best-situated to ensure that the maintenance problems at Cinergy Field are not repeated at Paul Brown Stadium. Even though Hamilton County paid PBSL for management services last year, County officials now threaten to disregard the plain language of the contract by claiming the County lacked the authority to make this commitment. In the lease, however, the County promised that it had "full power and authority to execute...this Lease...." and that:
- "No Legal Requirement in any way prohibits, limits or otherwise affects the right or power of County to enter into and perform all of the terms and provisions of this Lease..."
In February, the County indicated that it would not honor the management provision, but would bid the contract out to the public. In an effort to avoid a lawsuit, PBSL responded to the bid and submitted the lowest, best, and only complete bid to manage the stadium - and committed to do so at no profit (as it had promised three years ago) and to competitively bid all goods and services. Still, Hamilton County refused to award PBSL the contract and has ordered the management contract to be re-bid. PBSL and the Bengals are now asking the court to enforce the County's obligation of having PBSL manage the stadium under either the lease or the original bids.