Schott wants court to determine her new seats
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.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press