A special message from UFCW Local 655 President, David A. Cook.
Stan Kroenke, who is the owner of the NFL Rams, lit whatever relationship he had left with the city of St. Louis on fire this week when the Rams formally submitted a proposal to move to L.A. that was laced with ferocious criticisms for our beloved city.
Kroenke, one of the wealthiest and most powerful owners in all of professional sports, said any NFL team that moves to St. Louis and the new world-class stadium we’ve proposed will be “well on the road to financial ruin,” and calls San Diego and Oakland far superior markets to St. Louis.
Forget for a moment Kroenke’s the disregard for our city’s many strengths. Forget his stunning ability to ignore a passionate and engaged fan base. Forget his abject refusal to work with, or even communicate with, the community that hosts this football team. Forget the slap in the face it is to all of the hard-working men and women who took money out of their pockets to help fund a team he tore apart.
Forget all that and remember than Enos Stanley Kroenke made his first mark in the business world by partnering with the Walton family, helping build strip malls and Walmarts around the nation. Kroenke the “successful” businessman was forged in the dark and ugly world of real-estate development working for and with one of the most shameful corporate actors in America.
Walmart has a formula, and it probably sounds familiar to anyone following the long saga of St. Louis’ struggle to build a new NFL stadium.
The retailer first demands special tax breaks and incentives, despite being one of the most profitable companies on Earth. If anyone dares to refuse these incentives, they retaliate by painting a grim picture of life without them, dangling the threat of moving just across city lines to a neighboring town and blessing some other community with their presence.
They’ll ask for special treatment, a bending of zoning rules, to allow them to build their stores exactly how they like them, local standards be damned. They won’t be above intimidation, either, or weaving lies about those standing in their way. They’ll go as far as pit communities and towns against each other to squeeze every possible dime out of local taxpayers – all while reaping billions of profits.
That is the the Walmart way. And, that is Kroenke way.
No one in St Louis should be naïve enough to expect Kroenke — who is married to a Walmart heir and sitting on a fortune built on their ugly business practices — to treat us any differently?
Walmart’s values, are Kroenke’s values.
Sadly, we need to remember that Kroenke only ever brought the Rams back to St. Louis because the city offered him an obscenely rich deal, one of the best in the league at the time. The deal, a laundry list of concessions from a city desperate for an NFL franchise, gave Kroenke and the Rams permission to break their lease and leave town if the Edward Jones Dome did not remain “state-of-the-art.” Kroenke, always knowing this would be his window to one day abandon this city for greener pastures, is now doing just that, because that’s the cold-hearted business he knows.
His regard for St Louis taxpayers, small businesses, workers who will be impacted, let alone the fans, is absolutely non existent.
In short, all Enos Stanley Kroenke has done is treat St. Louis with the same contempt and cynicism that Walmart regularly treats communities and its workers.
We may not be able to stop what Kroenke does, but we can remember.
Remember the saga of Kroenke and his cruel attempt to depart. Remember who Kroenke is and where he comes from. Remember that every dime you spend at Walmart is another nail in the coffin of the St. Louis Rams.
Don’t put money in to the pockets of the people trying to take as much as they can out of yours.
Let’s stand up for our values and our families – we owe our beloved city nothing less.