When the Atlanta Falcons first discussed moving into a new stadium, I’m sure they pictured a seamless process. I’m sure they had increased ticket sales in mind, hoping to increase their revenue. I’m sure they had the players in mind, wanting to offer a first class playing experience. But like most major construction projects, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has had its issues, including a roof that functions properly when it feels like it.
Now the team (or at least the stadium ownership group) will need to navigate a lawsuit alleging that they are deliberately trying to avoid property taxes via a unique lease with the Georgia World Congress Center.
“[A] lawsuit obtained by our FOX 5 I-Team, claims the Falcons should be paying an estimated $26 million dollars per year in property taxes. The Fayetteville attorney who filed the lawsuit says Atlanta Public School kids are missing out on 13 million dollars in taxes a year.”
Here is a response from a stadium spokesperson, noting that the Falcons do not actually own the stadium, and disputing the merits of the allegations featured in the FOX 5 story.
"The Falcons do not own the stadium or any property interest in the stadium that could be subject to taxation and are not named as a defendant in the suit. Allegations in the suit as described in the news article are without merit. We will not make any further comment since there is pending litigation regarding this matter."
It really is not clear whether the lawsuit has any merit, so we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out going forward. For now, it’s just another item to filing away in our new stadium shenanigans file.