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County to appeal ruling in Bengals case

CINCINNATI (March 8, 2006) -- Hamilton County will appeal a judge's dismissal of a federal antitrust lawsuit against the Cincinnati Bengals, officials said.

The county sued the team and the National Football League, alleging they used monopoly power to win construction of Paul Brown Stadium and a lease that is highly favorable to the Bengals at the expense of taxpayers.

U.S. District Judge S. Arthur Spiegel ruled Feb. 9 that the suit was filed after the four-year statute of limitations expired. The ruling did not address the county's argument that the Bengals misled taxpayers and officials by contending that they needed a new stadium to be profitable and might move if they didn't get one.

Hamilton County taxpayers approved a one-half-cent sales tax increase in 1996 to finance the $450 million stadium. Commissioners signed a lease with the Bengals the following year.

The lawsuit was filed in 2003, three years after the team began using the stadium.

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