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Suit: City leaders broke promise not to allow uptown baseball stadium

CHARLOTTE -- A lawsuit filed Tuesday claims Mecklenburg County is breaking its word by allowing the Charlotte Knights to build a baseball stadium on public land in Third Ward.

The suit asked a judge to issue a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction to stop stadium construction. A hearing was held later Tuesday, and a judge is expected to announce his ruling in the case today.

The suit argues that bond packages approved in 1999 and 2004 called for using the land for a park, and that county leaders agreed not to put a professional baseball stadium there.

It was filed by prominent Charlotte lawyer Bill Diehl on behalf of Jerry Reese, an attorney who has sued repeatedly to stop the minor league baseball plans. He wants to bring major league baseball to uptown.

The ballot given to voters in 2004 said that $69 million in park bonds would be used for a variety of park and recreation facilities "other than a stadium for professional baseball" -- something county commissioners had agreed to in at least two meetings before the referendum.

The county spent about $370,000 of the bond money to clear buildings and prepare the property when it was being considered for a park.

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