A Common Pleas Court judge this morning ruled that the Philadelphia Eagles owe the city $8 million in skybox revenue from the former Veterans Stadium. The other cleat is expected to drop next week in the long-running legal battle when Judge Albert W. Sheppard Jr. is expected to rule on how much the city owes the Eagles from a 2001 pre-season game that was canceled due to field conditions at the Vet.
The legal tussle drew media attention like linemen on a fumble when the Eagles went to court in March, claiming they had a secret deal with then-Mayor John Street to settle the skybox and canceled game disputes for less than $1 million. Street then claimed that there was no secret deal.
Sheppard ruled in August 2005 that the Eagles owed the city money for the skyboxes but didn't set an amount. He also ruled that the city owed the Eagles an amount "to be determined" for the canceled pre-season game. That amount will be set next week.
UPDATE, 1:10 pm: It appears the Eagles are going to come out of this dispute owing the city somewhere between $0 and $3 million, if next week's ruling by Sheppard tracks with recent negotiations concluded by attorneys for the Nutter administration and the football team.
Mathieu Shapiro, an attorney for the Eagles, said he anticipates that Sheppard will rule next week that the city owes the team somewhere between $5 million and $8 million for the missed pre-season game. Shapiro said of the negotiations: "A lot of hard work went into this on both sides." The Eagles have no plans to appeal, he added.
That echoed sentiment expressed by Mayor Nutter a few minutes ago. "I'm certainly very, very pleased that this particular part has been resolved," Nutter said of today's ruling. "I appreciate all the efforts that anyone has made with regards to this matter. There's been a lot of back and forth. There's been a lot of time and effort spent dealing with this."