Crew SC owner Anthony Precourt may have to go to court if he wants to move the club to Austin, Texas.
Ohio and Columbus filed a lawsuit Monday with the intent of keeping the Crew in Columbus. It cites a 1996 state law passed after the Cleveland Browns fled to Baltimore.
From The Columbus Dispatch:
The lawsuit filed Monday in the Franklin County Common Pleas Court seeks to invoke a 1996 law enacted after Art Modell moved the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore, where the team was renamed the Ravens. The law says that no professional team that gets public assistance or uses public facilities can leave town without giving six months notice and giving locals an opportunity to buy the team.
The lawsuit asks the court to enjoin the Crew from skipping town.
State Rep. Mike Duffey of Worthington told The Dispatch the Crew qualify because it uses taxpayer-supported facilities.
He has said the Crew qualifies as using taxpayer-supported facilities because it is paying a below-market rate to lease state land for parking, Mapfre Stadium sits on land that is tax exempt and the state provided $5 million for parking upgrades in the 2009 at the adjacent Ohio Expo Center, where lots are used by Crew SC fans.
Finding a suitable location for a stadium in Austin, which Precourt lists as a necessary precursor to the move, hasn't been easy. Having to go to war against a state and city government might make it more trouble than it's worth.