Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Talks break down in effort to secure lease for the Rhinos at Capelli Sport Stadium

What looked like possible progress in the lease negotiations involving the City of Rochester and the owners of the Rochester Rhinos apparently fell short.

David and Wendy Dworkin, who own the local soccer team, released this statement on Monday:

"Unfortunately, we were not able to finalize a settlement, despite our good faith efforts in discussions with the City over many weeks.  We were willing to continue negotiations, but the City refused to extend the agreed-upon deadline.  We are confident in our legal positions and look forward to presenting them through a formal legal process."

The city originally was going to evict the team from Capelli Sport Stadium at the end of February, saying that the Dworkins had defaulted on the lease when they said they wouldn’t be fielding a team this year.

That date was extended until March 12th, and then the city had said the talks were continuing so they wouldn’t enforce a deadline at that point.

Rochester City Hall Communications Director James Smith released this statement:

"The City of Rochester has been negotiating in good faith to find a path forward at the stadium.  In attempting to overcome the stadium operator's default on the provisions of their lease, the City's primary focus and mission has been the protection of city taxpayers and their interests.  After half-a-dozen tentative agreements, the negotiation became one of ever-moving goal posts with no end or resolution in sight.  While the stadium operator felt it was okay to cease their soccer operations in order to save dollars, they are now seeking a court order to deny city taxpayers a similar opportunity, which seems patently unfair.  No one is entitled to a taxpayer-supported subsidy and the City will not allow the hardworking residents of our community to be taken advantage of.  The City of Rochester will now seek appropriate legal remedy to protect our taxpayers and their approximate $600,000 per year investment in this publicly-owned facility."

The Dworkins have previously said that Capelli Sport Stadium will host several other events this year including some USL games.

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's director of news and public affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.