Will Football Kill the American Dream?

Football may be America’s pastime, but the New York Jets and New York Giants are fighting hard to derail the American Dream project. The now decade-old plan calls for the redevelopment of land adjacent to the team’s shared stadium in the Meadowlands.

As initially proposed, the Xanadu entertainment complex was to encompass 4.8 million square feet. Under the new redevelopment plan for the American Dream project, it will include an amusement park and span 7.5 million feet. The teams argue that the complex will create significant parking and traffic issues during the football season.

The Jets and Giants also maintain that they hold veto rights. In a New Jersey lawsuit filed last summer, the teams argued that the New Jersey Sports & Exposition Authority (NJSEA) violated the terms of a 2006 agreement when it allowed new developers, Triple Five Group, to expand the complex beyond its initial design without the teams’ approval. The redevelopment agreement allows the Jets and the Giants to object to project changes that will adversely impact them.

After their first lawsuit was dismissed as premature, the Jets and Giants agreed to participate in the NJSEA master-plan committee process. Despite the team’s protests, the agency recently approved the plan late last month.

In the latest complaint, the NFL franchises argue that there “was no process at all, with rules made up along the way in order to achieve the preordained result of approval of the Developers’ American Dream proposal, without taking any steps to avoid breaching the Teams’ contract rights.”

The controversy now appears ripe for adjudication. In dismissing the first suit, Judge Peter Doyne concluded that the NJSEA process should be allowed to play out before the teams filed suit. “To allow the two proceedings to occur simultaneously, with the possibility of inconsistent factual findings and ultimate outcomes, serves nobody’s best interests,” he wrote.

According to the teams, it is now game on.

Donald Scarinci is a managing partner at Lyndhurst, N.J. based law firm Scarinci Hollenbeck.  He is also the editor of the Constitutional Law Reporter and Government and Law blogs.

  Will Football Kill the American Dream?