Friday, April 13, 2001

Bengals ticket deal is adjusted

By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Lawyers for Hamilton County and the Cincinnati Bengals sacked the team's season ticket holders for a 1-yard loss Thursday.

        The lawyers had reached a settlement with disgruntled fans Tuesday in a complicated resolution to the lawsuit filed on behalf of fans who feel cheated in the seats they received at Paul Brown Stadium.

        That resolution was in jeopardy Thursday, as the lawyers once again gathered in Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman's chambers to clear one more hurdle — where to draw the line between sections C and D.

        The dispute centers on season-ticket holders who purchased seat licenses, which cost between $150 and $1,500, that gave them the right to buy season tickets. Some fans claim they purchased a license for a specific section but were given tickets in a less desirable section.

        Thursday's emergency cropped up when the lawyers couldn't agree where to draw the line between the two sections. Lawyers for the fans wanted it on the 2-yard line, while county and Bengals counsel wanted it at the goal line.

        They decided to draw the line at the 1-yard line, after more than two hours of negotiations behind closed doors. The latest disagreement affected between 400 and 600 fans and meant a swing of about $250,000 in refunds.

        The county thinks the settlement will cost more than $2.5 million. It is unclear how much it will cost the Bengals, which has agreed to pay $125,000 into a settlement fund.

        In part, the settlement requires the county to refund the difference between the seating zone for which fans paid and the price of the zone in which displaced fans were seated. The county also will pay 10 percent interest on the refunded money.

        Fans seated in zones they did not state as a preference in their original seat license application will have the option of giving up their license and receiving a full refund.

        Hamilton County Administrator David Krings said the settlement won't be final until commissioners approve it.


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