A separate lawsuit filed in Cole County, meanwhile, threatens the developer from a different angle. A state incentive program awarded McKee $19.4 million in tax credits late last year, which he's already used to pay down debt. North-side residents Barbara Manzara and Keith Manquard are suing the state, claiming that the program is unconstitutional because it allows McKee to bail himself out with public money.
"These lawsuits certainly do one major thing," Allen suggests. "They force [McKee] to spend a lot of money on lawyers' fees at a time when he's cash poor."
Puricelli says he doesn't know whether the suits are having any financial impact on McKee. As for the all the legal opposition, he says, "I don't understand it. We're trying to do something good for north St. Louis." He adds that he's "comfortable" his side will prevail.
Meanwhile, Vickers and his team prepare for battle. "I think we can win," he says. "Our aim is to get this ordinance voided. That's where we're headed. And McKee needs to realize from the judge's ruling that that's a real threat to him."