The City of Rochester claims the owners of the Rochester Rhinos are in default of their Capelli Sport Stadium lease, but the club is disputing that idea.
In November, the Rhinos announced that they would not field a team for the 2018 USL season, citing financial difficulties. At the time, the club stated that it intended to remain in good standing with the USL and did not rule a return to play down the road.
Since then, the city has claimed that the Rhinos owners–David and Wendy Dworkin–are in default of their lease as operator Capelli Sport Stadium because of their decision to not field a team in 2018. That issue was detailed in a letter dated January 19, and the city is giving the owners until midnight on February 28 to leave the venue. The Dworkins, however, are disputing the city’s claim, and believe that they are currently meeting the conditions of their lease. More from The Democrat & Chronicle:
The city says the Rhinos are in default on two loosely worded clauses in Section 15.01 (e) of the lease. “Your decision results in ceasing ‘use of the Stadium for professional soccer play,’ and abandonment of your right to ‘participate as a team in a recognized professional soccer league.’ ”
But — and here’s where the language is key — the United Soccer League told the Rhinos it would remain a league member in good standing for 2018 even if Rochester didn’t field a team. The USL also has agreed to play a handful of matches this year at Capelli Sport Stadium featuring other USL teams.
As operator, the Dworkins also could try to host concerts or other events at the stadium in 2018. The Rhinos also said they plan to operate their youth academy and its teams in 2018.
“It’s a legal matter so what we can say is limited but I believe that we met the terms and conditions of our lease. Clearly, I disagree with this letter,” said Wendy Dworkin, who has a law degree.
The Rhinos played their first season in 1996, and have called Capelli Sport Stadium home since 2006.
Image courtesy Rochester Rhinos