Renovations at the Q could be delayed by potential lawsuit

CLEVELAND-- An attorney says his clients will sue to try and force Cleveland to put the issue of whether to use public money to finance renovations of the Q on a ballot - if the city doesn't agree to do so first.

A lawsuit might delay the sale of county bonds - which are part of the financing package worked out among the city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, and the Cleveland Cavaliers to pay for the $140 million in renovations.

The Cavs are helping to pay the cost, but opponents want about an equal amount spent on renovations in Cleveland's neighborhoods that would be spent renovating the Q.

Supporters say the Q is an economic engine for the region - home to around 200 events a year including Cavs basketball, hockey, arena football, and concerts.

They add that drives employment - not only at the arena, but in surrounding bars and restaurants.

On Monday, the Greater Cleveland Congregations tried to present more than 20,000 signatures to the clerk at Cleveland City Council to get the Q renovations question on a ballot.

The city would only take custody, not legal possession, of the signatures.

Council President Kevin Kelley said the city has a legal opinion that says, because contracts have been agreed to based on Council's approval of the deal, that it's too late to put the issue before voters.

"Arrogance" is how Subodh Chandra, an attorney representing the Congregations, termed the city's position.

He says those who support "corporate welfare" are trying to "subvert democracy."

Chandra says the City's Charter gives people the right to petition for a vote, and if elected officials ignore that right, the Congregations group will sue to try and enforce it.

Any lawsuit could at least delay the sale of county bonds which are part of the financing deal for the Q renovations.

On Friday, the city would only say that it had just received a letter Chandra sent to the law department, and was reviewing it.

Continuing coverage.