Apparently that Bill Shaikin column in the L.A. Times the other day was just a warning shot in the simmering Los Angeles Angels lease war with Anaheim, because now Shaikin has followed up with a news article noting that “relations between the two sides have grown so strained that each side is accusing the other of trying to make significant changes to the terms of the deal”:
In a March 21 letter to the city, Angels attorney Alex Winsberg complained that a draft agreement presented by the city two days earlier “fundamentally conflicts with the basic intent of the deal … an exchange of development rights for the obligation to renovate and maintain the stadium.”
In another letter, dated April 24 and posted on the Voice of OC website, Angels President John Carpino said the team was “shocked” by the draft agreement that he said “removed any inducement for the Angels to undertake the substantial economic risk and responsibility negotiated into the framework of the deal that was initially proposed by the City of Anaheim.”
In a March 31 letter to the Angels, City Attorney Michael Houston reminded the team that the deal framework — called a memorandum of understanding (MOU) — was subject to change upon further negotiations.
“It bears mentioning that the Angels … are currently proposing terms that differ from the MOUs,” Houston wrote. He added: “Temperance, diligence and trust are the basis for our negotiations.”
I’m not so sure this actually qualifies as “strained” — it looks to me more like the usual push-and-pull of negotiations over a deal that was penciled out but not actually finalized — but clearly Angels owner Arte Moreno wants to put out there that the city of Anaheim is being unreasonable in not just rubber-stamping whatever he wants the MOU to mean. (To be clear, Moreno didn’t leak the letters; they were released as part of standard public-records procedure.)
The actual term sheets from the city of Anaheim were redacted from the Angels missives, so there’s no way of knowing exactly what Moreno is objecting to here. The one piece that wasn’t redacted was that the Angels owner doesn’t want the city to conduct an appraisal of the value of the land that he would be getting for free in the deal — something that is a huge sticking point, because it could be anywhere from $30 million to $380 million — because it could “be misunderstood by the general public as to the value that the City is providing” and “will lead to an unworkable situation.” Anyone here think that means anything other than “Don’t tell people what we’re getting out of the deal, or the jig is up!”?