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Columbus Attorney accuses Precourt, MLS of ‘factual misdirection’ in lawsuit

Oct 8, 2014; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Crew owner Anthony Precourt greets fans at the team's unveiling of their new logo event for fans held at the LC Pavilion. (Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

The city of Columbus says Crew SC ownership is engaging in “factual misdirection” while trying to “run the clock” on its lawsuit aimed at keeping the team from relocating to Austin, Texas.

City Attorney Zach Klein on Monday accused Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer of trying to avoid discovery in the lawsuit while they challenge the constitutionality of the state’s Modell Law. The law, established after the Cleveland Browns left for Baltimore in 1996, aims to keep pro sports teams from leaving the state after accepting public financial support. It requires that owners provide at least six months’ notice and provide interested parties with an opportunity to buy the team.

“This Court should not reward the Defendants’ unreasonable attempt to drag out the litigation for the sole purpose of rendering the six-month purchase opportunity period described in R.C. 9.67 moot,” the five-page filing reads.

Precourt Sports Ventures in October identified Austin as the target for potential relocation, but has claimed to be pursuing parallel paths, one leading to Austin and the other keeping the club in Columbus.

Klein on Monday also accused MLS and Precourt of “factual misdirection” for muddling the league’s ownership structure in making their arguments.

Anthony Precourt identified himself as “Owner/Chairman” of Crew SC until the league on Friday made its case for dismissing the lawsuit. Precourt’s Twitter profile now reads “Investor/Operator and Chairman.”

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