Hamilton County, Ohio, home of the National Football League's Cincinnati Bengals and signatory to one of the shittiest professional sports franchise contracts in human history, has joined a first-of-its-kind lawsuit accusing the NFL and the Bengals "of squeezing $450 million from taxpayers to build a football stadium."
Paul Brown Stadium, built with state and local tax dollars, opened in 2000. Elected officials were so desperate to keep the generally hapless Bengals around that they signed a remarkable deal. As reported by the Cincinnati Enquirer:
"This lease is so one-sided that it shocks the conscience," Commissioner Phil Heimlich said. "We build the stadium and maintain it and yet they get 50 percent from soccer games, concerts and other events that have nothing to do with the Bengals."
The county is seeking to recover $200 million in damages and alleges that the NFL and the Bengals used a "monopoly" position to cut such a great deal. Most legal observers say the case is almost sure to fail, partly because it's self-evident that elected officials at the time were more than happy to sign such a deal.
Which is great for taxpayers. First they get stuck with a revenue sinkhole. Then they get stuck with the bill for trying to get out of the deal in the first place.