By Andy Strickland
Alan Bornstein has acted as counsel for Stan Kroenke (as well as THF Realty and the Kroenke Group) going back almost a quarter of a century or more. Of more recent note, he was the lead attorney on behalf of the Rams’ relocation from St. Louis to Los Angeles, which obviously was very painful for the St. Louis Metro Area. Upon information and belief, Alan Bornstein works exclusively for Stan Kroenke and his affiliates.
So, what is the issue? As you can see from a July 24, 2019 St. Louis Business Journal article, Wentzville is moving forward with a multimillion dollar project that is being spearheaded by the Wentzville Bend Development, LLC “represented by Dentons’ lawyer, Alan Bornstein” to construct a 140,000 square foot shopping center on 35 acres. The City of Wentzville is basically using a Community Improvement District process in order to raise funds to do two phases of the development. The first phase involves creating a $40 million recreation center, utilizing the CID process to generate $3.9 million in revenue. This will be done by issuing a 1% sales tax on sales that occur within the district in order to fund borrowing by the City of Wentzville to construct the project and provide funds for other public improvements in connection associated with the rec center.
On the other side of the transaction, however, is an additional CID with an additional .5% sales tax. Those funds will generate more than $400,000 a year, which will be used to directly benefit the retail project being spearheaded by Bornstein on behalf of Wentzville Bend Development, LLC. Again, we strongly believe that Alan Bornstein does not represent other clients and that he is working as a developer here on behalf of Stan Kroenke. When he does these development deals with Stan Kroenke, he personally has a minority interest at best, with Stan Kroenke as the majority owner.
It appears as if there will be further approvals that are required by the Wentzville Alderman, as well as the property owners within the CID’s boundaries in a future election to approve these CIDs. It is interesting to note that as reported in the article, Bornstein refuses to identify who is investing in the project (for obvious reasons… his one and only client, who may not be the most beloved investor in St. Louis.
Why would any suburb in the St. Louis Metro Area in any way want to provide this type of public financing for Stan Kroenke in light of what he has done to our city?
You should note that Kroenke has other retail interests in Wentzville; specifically, Wentzville Crossroads, Marketplace. I am attaching a copy of a marketing brochure for this Kroenke owned shopping center (SEE HERE), which has, among other tenants, a Wal-Mart, Kohls, Ross, a Target, Aldi’s, and numerous outlets, as well as many restaurants. He also owns Bear Creek Shopping Center in Wentzville, which is also known as Wentzville Sam’s, which is located right behind Wentzville Crossroads Marketplace.
Clearly, Kroenke (with Bornstein leading the charge) is continuing his march to own more retail development in Wentzville. . . with public assistance helping him along (because he evidently needs the money?).
It is interesting to do a quick read of the document that was authored by Alan Bornstein in connection with the Rams’ relocation (SEE HERE: RamsRelocationStatement). See Statement of Reasons in Support of the Rams’ Application to Relocate to Los Angeles attached. This was specifically a document that was directly authored by Alan Bornstein on behalf of the Rams to support their application to move out of St. Louis. There are numerous statements that have been widely reported in the media. Some of the more damning are:
“Any NFL club that signs on to the . . . [stadium] proposal in St. Louis will be well on the road to financial ruin, and the League will be harmed”.
“Studies demonstrate that. . . St. Louis is a market that will in all likelihood be unable to sustain three professional sports teams. The . . . studies show that San Diego and Oakland markets have solid economics and growing populations to sustain healthy NFL franchises, while St. Louis lags and will continue to lag far behind in the economic drivers that are necessary for sustaining success of an NFL franchisee.”
“Compared to other U.S. cities, St. Louis is struggling.”
These are just a few of some of the inflammatory statements.
When the Rams were ultimately successful in obtaining the decision of the owners to move, there was a press conference by the NFL Commissioner and Stan Kroenke. Stan thanked many people generally. But of 2 people that he “lauded” specifically at that press conference, he had to commend Alan Bornstein for all of the work that he did in getting them to the finish line to move the Rams.
Now, the City of Wentzville, one of St. Louis’ Metropolitan Area suburbs, is proposing that the public (likely in large part its residents who shop at Kroenke’s malls) pay additional taxes to help provide financial assistance to Stan Kroenke, all while Alan Bornstein refuses to identify his investor….