Rhinos owners, City of Rochester heading to court

March 21, 2018 04:21 PM

The court battle over Capelli Sport Stadium will enter into its second day.

Wednesday morning, lawyers representing the City of Rochester and its professional soccer team, the Rochester Rhinos, met in the privacy of Judge Doyle’s State Supreme Court chambers.

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They spent around ninety minutes hashing out details before emerging, announcing they would return on Thursday to continue the conversation over the future of Capelli Sport Stadium.

“I think everyone is anxious for an answer. We have to go back and speak with our clients before any decisions can be reached,” said Tim Curtin, the City of Rochester’s Corporation Counsel.

He said there were a “bunch of formulas that have been intertwined” so they were “trying to figure them out, reach a conclusion, and then come back tomorrow morning to discuss it with the judge.”

The lawyers representing the Dworkins, who own the Rochester Rhinos, also spoke to News10NBC outside of the judge’s chambers.

“As Mr. Curtin stated, we feel positive about it. There’s a lot of talk about and we’ll continue those talks tomorrow morning,” said Sheldon Smith with Nixon Peabody LLP.

He added, “progress towards something that benefits the city on behalf of both parties.”

The court fight comes after talks between the Dworkins and the city broke down.

News10NBC has been following this back and forth between the city and the Rhinos from last fall when the team announced it's skipping the 2018 season. The city maintains taking a year off violates the Rhinos contract with the city.

A clause requires the team owners to use Capelli Stadium for pro soccer. The Rhinos believe they've followed through on their requirements by scheduling multiple USL games featuring other teams as well as agreeing to host all Rochester Lancers home games at the stadium in 2018.

City officials say shutting the stadium down and letting it sit empty would save more money than keeping it open for just a few games or events. Mayor Lovely Warren says the city is simply protecting taxpayers.

"When they decided to not field a team automatically to our lawyers, they were in breach of contract,” Mayor Warren says.

"But then, we said let's come and sit down at the table and talk about this. Okay, we (asked) are you going to have a team next year? They said, 'we don't know.' I can't operate on that. I don't believe that our citizens can operate on that,” said the mayor.

As for the Dworkins, they say they are willing to keep talks with the city going, adding they are also confident in where their case stands now and look forward to presenting their arguments in court.


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