Businessman Ken Lanci sued the NFL, the Cleveland Browns and the league's 31 other teams on Thursday, aiming to save the upcoming football season.
Lanci says in the suit that the lockout violates his private seat license contract with the Browns and jeopardizes his right to watch a full season of home games.
He filed the suit in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, asking the court to prohibit the lockout that threatens to cancel the 2011-12 NFL season ( lancisuit.pdf
The 60-year-old Gates Mills resident said he is hoping to make a difference with this suit.
"What tipped the scale for me is the labor issue between millionaires and billionaires and the fact they can't settle it when the country is in a recession," he said. "Worse yet, they have to rub this in our faces."
Lanci, a self-made millionaire, ran as an independent for Cuyahoga County executive last year in a mostly self-financed campaigned. He lost. But he became known, partly for his thick white hair that contrasted with the orange glow he gained from his personal tanning bed.
Lanci owns PSLs for 10 seats in Club Section C3, which he bought in October 1997. People pay an upfront fee for a PSL that gives them the right to purchase a season ticket for a specific seat in a stadium.
He is in effect saying the lockout robs him of his right to watch games this season because his PSL contract gives him "exclusive use and possession" of 10 specified seats in Cleveland Browns Stadium.
On March 10, the NFL Players Association decertified itself as the union for NFL players to avoid a strike, but a day later team owners nonetheless announced the lockout.
"The owners and players can't decide what to do with an extra billion dollars between them," Lanci said. "I have the perfect solution. That one billion should go to all cities that gave them money to build football stadiums they couldn't afford to build. This would give these cities badly needed tax relief."