Wednesday, May 30, 2001

Judge says seating deal will get OK

12,000 Bengal ticket-buyers to be given new options

By Ben L. Kaufman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman Tuesday said he'd approve the deal to end a dispute among Hamilton County, the Cincinnati Bengals and more than 12,000 of the team's season ticket holders.

        The judge said he would sign an order ending the litigation if it contained the terms tested last week in a formal fairness hearing.

        Five people spoke against the proposed settlement but the judge indicated then that he would approve it.

        Tuesday, his bailiff, Karl Mohaupt, passed the official word to the parties and told them to prepare a joint order for the judge's signature.

        A majority of the Hamilton County Commission favors the accord and the three commissioners are to vote officially on the settlement — which will cost taxpayers no more than $2.6 million — on June 6.

        Six fans sued the county and team last year. Their attorney, Janet Abaray, said fans purchased seat licenses to sit in specific sections of the stadium but were assigned seats in less expensive zones. All season ticket holders are now a part of the lawsuit.

        The settlement will allow the ticket holders to upgrade their seats at no charge, or the 2,500 fans who were seated in less expensive zones will also be given the option to keep their seats and be refunded the difference by the county or give up their seat licenses and get a total refund.

        For fans wanting a full refund, the county would pay the difference in cost between the sections and the Bengals will pay the rest.


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