St. Petersburg City Council chair says he’ll discuss Rays situation next week

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ST. PETERSBURG — City Council chair Ed Montanari says it’s his turn to address the Tampa Bay Rays’ stadium situation.

He plans to hold a news conference on Tuesday to discuss the Rays’ future in St. Petersburg. He’ll be the latest figure to weigh in on the stadium saga, joining Mayor Rick Kriseman, Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg, the team’s minority owners, team officials, Hillsborough County leaders and folks in Montreal and Nashville.

Montanari’s announcement comes at the end of two weeks filled with rapid developments in the Rays’ years-long stadium quest and the impending redevelopment of the Tropicana Field property.

A group of minority owners on May 22 filed suit against Sternberg, accusing him of financial misconduct and attempting to strong-arm control of the team. Sternberg, who wants the team to play half its games in Montreal, denies the allegations. This week Kriseman said he will no longer negotiate with Sternberg because of the suit.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Times reported that team executives have been talking to Tampa and Hillsborough officials about relocating the team to Ybor City, or even Nashville, Tenn. should talks falter in St. Petersburg.

Kriseman, who has promised to select a developer for the Tropicana Field project in his last year in office, said Friday that he has narrowed the field to two. That is fueling an ongoing showdown with City Council, who decided last month not to take a vote on any development agreement until the stadium issue is resolved. Montanari has said he will not allow development groups to present their plans to council.