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Schott wants court to determine her new seats

3/13/2003 - Cincinnati Reds

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner is in Marge Schott's doghouse.

The team's former owner sued Lindner's Great American Insurance
Co. on Monday over the seats she was given in the club's new
ballpark, which opens March 31.

Schott's lawsuit in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court made
public her dispute with Lindner, who bought control of the Reds
from Schott in 1999.

Schott asks that the court determine the seats she is entitled
to in the new stadium. She said the 1999 agreement under which she
sold control of the Reds guarantees her use of the premium-section
seats.

The Reds say she is entitled to use of the owners' suite but is
asking for benefits not included in the sale agreement. The team
says the benefits would be greater than those afforded to any other
Reds owner.

"We are confident that the matter will be resolved quickly in
our favor by the court,'' the Reds said in a statement. "For now,
we prefer to focus on baseball and the opening of Great American
Ball Park.''

Schott's lawsuit says she had use of a private box at the Reds'
old stadium, Cinergy Field, and 21 blue-level seats that were
grouped together and near the playing field. But in the new
ballpark, the seats allocated to Schott are scattered about the
stadium and are at the back of the premium section.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Schott and her two auto
dealerships against the Great American Insurance Co., of which
Lindner is chairman. Great American bought the naming rights for
the Great American Ball Park, which opens March 31 when the Reds
host the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Schott, 74, became the team's controlling owner and was known
throughout baseball for bringing her dogs, Schottzie and later
Schottzie 02, on the field before games. She was suspended by
baseball for one year in 1993 for using racial and ethnic slurs.

Her lawsuit asks the court to declare that she is entitled to comparable seats in the new stadium which are grouped together and near the playing field. Schott also asks the court to rule that she has an "unconditional right to use a similarly situated private box in the new stadium occupied by the Reds, up to one hour before and after each home game.''

Schott and her lawyer, Mark Wasserman, could not be reached for
comment. Lindner, through spokeswoman Sandra Heimann, declined to
comment.