It's the side that is essentially keeping Modell out of the Hall of Fame. Further, if Cleveland did not get an expansion team ( named the Browns), Modell would have even looked worse for moving the team out of Cleveland.
This is a pretty one-sided version of the Art Modell story. He didn't just receive income from Municipal. He paid rent to the city, while assuming all maintenance and improvement expenses on a then 45 year old stadium. It's also important to remember that the Indians moved to Jacobs field after the end of the 1993 season. So he suddenly lost all that revenue, which would have been the bulk of his stadium revenue - 81 games worth.
As for voting for Jacksonville over Baltimore, all but 2 owners voted the same way. That had more to do with Tagliabue and Cooke lobbying against Baltimore, than it did Modell. So I don't buy your theory that he voted for Jacksonville, just to could keep Baltimore in his back pocket, in case he needed to leave the mistake on the lake.
You are correct that Modell paid for the maintenance of Municipal Stadium from 1974 on. He also had revenue through the Cleveland Stadium Corporation. He set the Corporation up in 1974 when he signed a 25 year lease. Through the corporation, he received revenue through concessions and parking at all stadium events. (Including the Indians)
Modell's five per cent partner, Alfred Lerner, was one of the people that was going to head ownership of an expansion franchise in Baltimore. The expansion team was not awarded to Baltimore.
Fast forward a couple of years. Cleveland builds the Cavs and Indians new facilities. Modell sees his former tenant flourishing while he is stuck with Cleveland Municipal. Meanwhile, Baltimore dangles the deal for a move out there one last time. Modell knows someone is going to take the deal. So he takes it. (By the way, I am glad that he did.)
My point is that when big money is involved, the notion of a team being a " public trust" can very easily go out the window. It does not matter if the owner is a billionaire or one that is struggling like Modell was.