City of Hamilton and Ticats reach settlement on stadium lawsuit: sources

By Matthew Van Dongen, The Hamilton Spectator

The city of Hamilton has essentially settled a lawsuit with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Infrastructure Ontario and Pan Am organizers over competing complaints surrounding construction of its $145-million stadium.

Multiple city sources anonymously have confirmed this week the broad strokes of the long-sought settlement are in place.

Mayor Fred Eisenberger said Wednesday he expected there will “be something to announce soon” on the lawsuit, but wasn’t yet willing to say it was a done deal.

He did predict, however, that in an upcoming announcement “we will be able to report that the city of Hamilton will be kept whole” in negotiations over who pays what for a litany of stadium-related complaints.

Council discussed the lawsuit behind closed doors last week and emerged to vote on secret directions to staff. Councillors Terry Whitehead and Donna Skelly voted against the closed-door decision, but did not specify why.

The stadium was handed to the city over late and unfinished in 2015, eventually spurring tens of millions in competing lawsuit claims from the football club, the city and province.

The city has used holdback cash to pay for more than $2.5 million in leak damage, unsafe railings and missing beer lines.

The Tiger-Cats, meanwhile, have claimed millions in damages due to stadium delays, seating and sound system problems.

The legal stalemate is affecting the city in other ways, even if local taxpayers remain off the hook for the ongoing parade of repairs.

The litigation has been blamed for effectively preventing the city and Ticats from teaming up on a Grey Cup bid. Similarly, council cited the lawsuit as a reason to pass on the chance to partner with team owner Bob Young and a local consortium interested in installing an all-season dome over the stadium.

The team and city have also sparred publicly over whether the Tiger-Cats have a valid lease to allow a planned new Canadian soccer franchise to play in the stadium.

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39 Comments on City of Hamilton and Ticats reach settlement on stadium lawsuit: sources

  1. Now if only the Flames could rid themselves of the Wilknots at McMahon.

    • brian johnson // May 19, 2018 at 12:23 pm //

      Better than the cheap tiny crappy stadiums in Hamilton and Montreal that need upgrading.
      Don’t worry about Calgary. When ready they’ll do it the right way. Cheers

  2. Edward Leslie // May 17, 2018 at 10:00 pm //

    Maybe the contractor, the City Council and the Tiger-Cats brass can all sit down and have a Tim Horton’s double double and a caramel or jelly doughnut as a peace offering.

    A dome? A new soccer franchise? A Grey cup game? That’s more like it! Enough of this litigation news in steeltown.

  3. Hamilton cheaps out and they end up with Tim Hortons Dump.

    Regina and Winnipeg ridicously overspend like drunken sailors and end up with boat anchors that will never be paid off.

    Hopefully everyone has learned from these three mistakes and there will be no further sports stadiums built with taxpayer handouts.

    • Green&Gold // May 17, 2018 at 10:16 pm //

      I have no idea what a reasonable price tag should be for a new CFL stadium. What would you say is a reasonable price?

      • Spend whatever they want as long as ZERO taxpayer dollars are used to build it.

        You may not realize it, but the federal and provincial governments are all drowning in debt. Infrastructure is crumbling, education system is constantly faced with cutbacks and the health care system is woefully underfunded.

        Governments CANNOT be giving handouts to build shiny new stadiums for pro sports teams. Not when there’s so many other pressing needs.

        • Cat Fan // May 18, 2018 at 12:53 am //

          Not sure why the handouts for cancelled gas plants, the air ambulance service, the eHeath mess and many electrical messes (paying for electricity that is no delivered, subsidising or outright paying NY State to buy excess electricity), having a fund to help farmers that have had crop damage or unexpected price drops where half of those paid didn’t have a drop in income wouldn’t be a more profitable place to start.

          There is also that $260 million of ineligible expenses for current operators that only $168 million could be recovered.

          • So why send more?
            Just because a government messed up and wasted hundreds of millions of dollars doesn’t justify spending more taxpayers dollars on things like stadiums!!
            OSEG and MLSE have it right

        • Like TD Place in Ottawa, ZERO fed/provincial dollars. Same with BMO in Toronto.

          You will see ZERO taxpayers dollars going towards a Halifax stadium – a CFL team there will never happen.

          • MoneyTeam // May 18, 2018 at 2:33 pm //

            Taxpayer dollars everywhere:

            Canada, Ontario, and Toronto governments paid $45mm for BMO Field which was more than half the cost.

            City of Ottawa paid $130mm to renovate TD Place.

          • brian johnson // May 19, 2018 at 12:26 pm //

            Well said!!

    • Gee you’re smart

    • Chopper11 // May 18, 2018 at 6:01 am //

      It’s a great place to watch sports

    • Look 51 people are tired of your constant whining ,now go get the wet diaper of yours changed grab your soother ,and a nice warm bottle of milk and have tht nap you need cause you are one miseable sob ,man how can you be so neg all the time life must suck eh !!!!!

  4. 200 million.

  5. Small cities Grand Forks, Fargo, North Dakota a fine example of how to get your dolar worth on a stadium build. Roof included for those uncooprative weather days on the storm plagued praires. Grand Forks has attached hotel too boot. How does 2 dinky towns get it right?

    • CanuckDomer // May 17, 2018 at 11:13 pm //

      University towns and lots of university cash…Fargo Dome is on ND State campus, funded by school and small increase is state sales tax…LOTS of college events help pay for it plus LOTS of concerts, etc. Grand Forks’ stadium is combo stadium-convention centre and is guaranteed lots of use by U of ND (football, graduations…) along with LOTS of concerts…

      Should be remembered that the Stadium in Grand Forks loses money every year and has gone through three or our management companies…

      That’s why these small cities can afford the facilities they have…links to college football

      • But small cities in the US love their football.
        Look at Green Bay, a small town with 100k and even if you included the population within 100km there is only 160,000 people.
        Football is far from being the number one sport in Canada, attendance down, TV ratings down, no one watches CIS football.
        You can’t compare to the US

  6. OSKEE WEE WEE // May 17, 2018 at 10:46 pm //

    2020 Grey Cup Hamilton

  7. James Fleck // May 17, 2018 at 11:27 pm //

    Sorry to say when you build a CHEAP STADIUM you get CHEAP RESULTS. Winnipeg has similar problems and it looks great but the infrastructure was done POORLY in various areas of the stadium. Looks like the RIDERS picked the right guy. Have heard of know problems there except for lack of water fountains. Same construction who built Moosiac built the Dallas Cowboys stadium I believe.

    • Look at the BMO expansion, an expansion and an upper deck put in all over the winter months. All paid for my MLSE with a private contractor.
      No problems in Ottawa either and that was a complete re-build of not only the stadium but the arena attached and the underground parking lot, the retail area, the condos – all done privately

  8. Gallagher09 // May 17, 2018 at 11:46 pm //

    Riders did it except for the fact that it can’t handle snow… Yes something was built in Saskatchewan with a weakness to snow. As people are watching The Eagles in the rain tonight lol

  9. jhayman // May 18, 2018 at 6:54 am //

    So wait, private companies are supposed to pay the entire cost pf construction of public-owned facilities? If that were the case, we’d have zero government-owned facilities.

    I think TIm Hortons field is an example of taxpayer money well spent — well with the exception of the contractor that was hired to build it.

    Ivor Wynne cost the city money every year. Tim Hortons field does not. The meeting areas are used every week by city programs. The field itself could be used more but it was still used by the national soccer teams for international competitions, for university football and a couple of concerts. The CanPL team will add 14 more dates.

    As mentioned in the article, the lawsuit being settled will (likely) mean the field gets used for soccer development in the winter months and a few more big events like the Grey Cup.

    All of this means revenue for the city, and a better experience for its citizens. They get to see and take part in these programs and events.

    • Why not? BMO stadium is a public stadium owned and operated by the city of Toronto but they only contributed $10 MILLION towards the project.
      It’s the same in Ottawa, except that Lansdowne is owned by the city but it is run by OSEG.

      Stadiums may be publically owned in most cases but the sports teams that use them are private and without the sports teams the facilities wouldn’t exist.

      • John Hayman // May 18, 2018 at 12:58 pm //

        The original poster said “spend whatever they want as long as ZERO taxpayer dollars are used to build it”

        For BMO field, 75% of the costs were paid by taxpayers. MLSE chipped in $17 million, but that also gave them naming rights and revenue from any entity that rented out the facilities and a share of parking revenue. They sold the naming rights for $27 million.

        The BMO field expansion was paid for with private money. The city did provide a low-interest loan to MLSE. And they also got an extension on naming rights for 10 more years.

        Not a good example of “Zero taxpayer money”.

        Landsdowne is a better example. In return for their investment, OSEG gets to use the stadium rent free for 30 years, and gets a share of the retail and commercial revenues of the “precinct” for 30 years.

      • MoneyTeam // May 18, 2018 at 2:36 pm //

        This is false/a full on lie. BMO received $45mm in public funding when it was first built. And yep it’s the same in Ottawa, $130mm from the city.

  10. True Blue // May 18, 2018 at 7:49 am //

    It’s true the stadium in Winnipeg had some issues that had to be repaired. Building stadiums in Canada isn’t something that we have tons of experience in because it simply doesn’t happen very often. Saskatchewan had the luxury of the lessons learned from the Winnipeg build so it only makes sense that they would have had less issues so that’s a good thing when that happens. I’m glad they got it right there. Nobody wants to see millions on fixes after a new stadium build. I can’t speak for other locations but here in Winnipeg the stadium is not only used 10 times a year for CFL games and the odd concert, but it’s shared with the university for their football program. There are also international soccer games. It’s also used regularly to support high school football programs, youth flag football programs and a host of other events. Soon there will be a FIFA level pro soccer team also playing there so the community benefits far more from it than just CFL games. It’s a good example of how the community benefits from a shared funding model (municipal, provincial and from the football club…not sure if there were any federal funds).

    In my opinion only, if we relied on private funds only for new stadiums we may never see new facilities and this league we all love could eventually not have viable venues to play in.

    A blended funding model for team and community use is the way to go or we simply don’t get new facilities. I hope all communities and teams reap the benefits of new venues. My opinion only.

    • 27 years and counting // May 18, 2018 at 9:32 am //

      Yes, the Riders looked at what the Bombers did, and did the exact opposite.

      IGF was a political move in the wrong location designed by a guy who builds seniors homes and built by a company way in over its head. Political interference doomed it from the start.

  11. Get Hamilton the Grey Cup STAT!!

    There’s no hope of building anything in Canada with Government monies/interference, we are way too heavily taxed to get anything large built without it.

  12. Catsfan1867 // May 18, 2018 at 11:57 am //

    Maybe a grey cup in the next 5-10 years?

  13. A total joke of a stadium put in the wrong place.grey cup you say.geez the out of town guests will love the Avon or prince eddy hotel for close buy meals. Oh ya McDonald’s too.city council a joke,and almost lost the stadium. And your worried bought costs of the dump.lol enjoy it..m

  14. waveman // May 18, 2018 at 2:31 pm //

    why do people keep saying no tax dollars were used!!? 50 million came from hamiltons reserve fund, do people think that the politicians raised that? the rest came from other levels of government, whats the difference if it was federal taxes or provicial taxes? those scumbags in hamilton won’t even pay for their own lunch, we pay their for a lunch fund!

  15. waveman // May 18, 2018 at 5:39 pm //

    and btw, when they say 145 million, thats not counting all of the repairs, screwups, transformer exposions and of course the lawyers for this so-called lawsuit. timbit stadium is closer to 200 million than 145 million

  16. Ballard was ahead of his time when he suggested putting a joint football stadium/hockey arena up on Limeridge Road. He pissed off too many of those inglorious city counsellors at the time so they voted “nyet” against his proposal. Obviously the structure would have aged to date and in need of replacement had it been built but one wonders what could have been – if anything a springboard to better things ahead instead of one big fat expensive eyesore dump that exists today on Melrose North.

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