ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) - The owners of the Rochester Rhinos are reacting after the city says they want them out of Cappelli Sports Stadium.
News 8 learned of the order Tuesday night. The news comes a month and a half after Rhinos owners David and Wendy Dworkin announced they were cancelling the 2018 season due to financial troubles.
Speaking Wednesday, the Dworkins said they’re not going anywhere. While they were shocked to hear that the city plans to terminate their lease, they are not giving up on the Rhinos or the stadium without a fight.
"I can tell you that I did not expect my first communication with the city to be a lease termination letter -- I would’ve expected it to be something different," said David Dworkin.
David and Wendy Dworkin say they were shocked to hear the City of Rochester expected them out of Cappelli Stadium by the end of February.
"From a legal perspective, I can tell you we have met all the requirements of our lease, all of them," Wendy Dworkin added. "But if you want me to say specifically, the letter that came to us, we are a member in good standing of USL; we have not abandoned or forfeited our right to a team in the USL."
Under the lease, the stadium must be used for professional soccer play. The Rhinos won't play this year, but the Dworkins plan to host USL games.
The City of Rochester’s Corporation Counsel Tim Curtin says he wrote the lease and he believes the Dworkins have failed to meet their requirements.
He says, "The lease obligates them to play. So, whether we can get into the semantics of good standing or not, they have surrendered the 2018 season -- that’s been confirmed with the league. So, they’re not going to play whether we say good standing is irrelevant."
The Dworkins say they have been good tenants and even if there is no 2018 soccer season, they already have events planned in the stadium and they’re not packing up or backing down.
The city said that they would not be opposed to selling the stadium. They didn’t mention any specific plans of what they’re going to do with it come March 1st, but said they’re open to any ideas.
“The Rochester Rhinos remain a full member in good standing with the USL and have met all of the terms and obligations of their lease at Capelli Sport Stadium, which will continue to host USL regular season contests in the 2018 season.
“We anticipate announcement of those contests soon in coordination with the club.”
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