BASEBALL

DAYTON GROUP SUED

* Trotwood deal investors seek $51 million from downtown backers, saying they block the Hara effort.


Published: Saturday, February 7, 1998
Page: 1B
By Laura A. Bischoff
DAYTON DAILY NEWS

METRO



Investors in the Trotwood baseball deal are suing the downtown Dayton stadium group for $51 million, saying the Dayton group is intentionally blocking the Hara Arena effort to bring a minor league team to the Miami Valley.

The city of Dayton, Downtown Dayton Partnership, Chicago-area investors Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers and the new downtown baseball investors, Hank and Ken Stickney of Mandalay Sports Entertainment, are named as defendants.

Dayton City Manager Valerie Lemmie said in a written statement: "We will be reviewing the legal documents to determine the appropriate course of action. However, we are confident that our position is correct and we will continue our efforts to bring minor league baseball to downtown Dayton."
City spokesman Tom Biedenharn added, "We feel confident we can withstand any kind of legal challenge that they've got."
Maureen Pero, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership, said the lawsuit "is clearly frivolous."
Pero called it "a desperate attempt to block the community's efforts to bring minor league baseball to downtown Dayton."
The lawsuit, filed in Montgomery County Common Pleas Court late Thursday, claims Myers publicly announced she was withdrawing from the project, so the Trotwood group spent time and money putting together a deal at Hara Arena.
Rich Ehrenreich, vice president of Sports Spectrum Inc., said his investors have put $750,000 in cash into the Trotwood deal so far. He declined to comment further, referring calls to attorney Anne Frayne. Frayne could not be reached Friday.
Dayton last year agreed to work exclusively with Myers and build a $22.7 million stadium on East First Street just east of downtown.
Myers got minor league approvals to move the Rockford (Ill.) Cubbies to Dayton for the 1999 season. But she failed to get Major League Baseball approval and said at a November news conference that she would withdraw from the project and sue Major League Baseball.
But Myers, who never formally withdrew her application, announced this week she would sell her company to Mandalay Sports Entertainment, a California-based sports group. Mandalay now will seek Major League approval to move a team downtown.
The lawsuit claims the Trotwood group relied on Myers' public statement and began working on its own deal. The same November day Myers announced her withdrawal, the Cincinnati Reds announced it would give Sports Spectrum until late January to get the necessary league approvals to move a team to the Miami Valley.
Sports Spectrum negotiated with Dayton but ended up striking a deal with Trotwood and Hara Arena to build an $11.4 million stadium there.
The lawsuit claims Myers, Dickson and city and partnership officials took actions to block Sports Spectrum. The lawsuit asks for a jury trial and $51 million in damages.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
* CONTACT Laura Bischoff at 225-2446 or e-mail her at laura_bischoff@coxohio.com




COLOR PHOTO: Sherrie Myers


Copyright , Dayton Daily News. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.


Dayton Daily News archives are stored on a SAVE (tm) newspaper library system from MediaStream, Inc., a Knight-Ridder Inc. company.