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Rhinos owners pushing back against city's request to leave Capelli Sports Stadium

(WHAM photo)

Rochester, N.Y. – The clock is ticking for the owners of the Rochester Rhinos. The City of Rochester wants the team out of Capelli Sports Stadium by the end of the month.

Wendy and David Dworkin say they had plans for the stadium this year, even though the Rhinos won’t be playing. That’s why they say they were surprised to learn the city was terminating their lease.

The city is calling foul on the lease agreement. No team, they say, no lease.

“We are not evicting the Rhinos,” said City of Rochester attorney Timothy Curtin, “the Rhinos are already gone. We are evicting Wendy and David, who don’t have any use for the stadium.”

The couple pulled the Rhinos from playing this season for financial reasons back in November. They were not expecting the letter this week, which terminated their stadium lease.

“it was a surprise,” David Dworkin said Wednesday while speaking on Radio 95.1’s Ditullio and Moran. “That was the first communication we had, and nothing has transpired between then and now that led us to the conclusion that this letter was coming.”

The Dworkins say they are still in good standing with the United Soccer League and planned to host other teams this year. They also say they are current on their $50,000-a-year rent.

“We are of the belief that our lease is in full force and effect,” said Wendy Dworkin.

The city attorney said it costs $650,000 to keep the stadium running, and not having a team isn’t fair to taxpayers.

“To have it just sit there for an unlimited or undefined period of time was just not something we could live with, not something we could burden the taxpayers with,” said Curtin.

The city says it’s exploring options to make use of the stadium. But the Dworkins aren’t giving up on the Rhinos.

“Our goal is to bring the Rhinos back,” said David Dworkin. “That hasn’t changed. But at this point, we are fighting or disputing this particular letter from the city.”

The Dworkins say their lawyers are reviewing the letter from the city. They have until February 28 to move out. If they don’t, they could be served with an official eviction notice.

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