Oakland council fixes dumb typos in A’s lease, everybody threatens to freak out again

The Oakland city council approved the new Oakland A’s lease yesterday … or approved a lease, anyway. The council made a few “procedural” changes to the lease that was approved by the Coliseum Authority earlier in the month, leading team president Michael Crowley to pronounce himself “caught by surprise” and “disappointed” that the council had changed the lease terms, and refuse to commit to signing the revised lease until he’d had a chance to review the new lease.

So what are these changes? Newballpark.org ran them down late last night, and here are the main ones:

  • Clarifying that if A’s owner Lew Wolff chooses to terminate the lease by announcing it in the middle of the year, the termination goes into effect following the second full year after the termination. (So if he terminates in mid-2016, the A’s are locked in through 2018.)
  • Fixing a typo that indicated a developer payment as being both $10 million and $20 million.
  • Clauses clarifying what happens if the team is sold, or if the Coliseum Authority defaults on its part of the deal.

As Newballpark.org notes, these are all really minor changes, and nothing that Wolff would have cause to reject. The de-typoed lease does have to now go back to the Coliseum Authority for a re-vote, though (as well as to the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which was always going to have to vote on this), so maybe Crowley was just disappointed that things are going to drag on an extra week or two? All signs point to things still getting worked out, but it wouldn’t be a week in Oakland without somebody pointing fingers angrily at somebody about something.


16 comments on “Oakland council fixes dumb typos in A’s lease, everybody threatens to freak out again

  1. Well they did change one provision regarding liability if the Raiders default on the lease that could be considered a major change. The city removed both their and the JPA’s liability clause in the event the Raiders breach the lease harming the A’s.

  2. A typo could be very costly as I am sure many on this blog can relate to. But whatever happened to the notion of making sure “all the i’s are doted and t’s are crossed”? It seems in this case that the Oakland City council is being prudent. I would expect a seasoned and experienced negotiator like Lew Wolff to view this recent issue as par for the course and not a big deal.

  3. Dean, the changes and modifications in and of themselves, other than maybe the one I mentioned, are pretty minor. But taken in the overall context of the negotiations, or even the meeting last night, and they could end up derailing the whole thing. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the meeting and you have a couple of hours to spare I suggest you do so. It’s a lesson in civic dysfunction. The lack of knowledge of any of the workings of their own stadium authority or their own relationship with the county on the part of the Oakland city council was staggering. The entire council save one member who didn’t say much of anything, did nothing but grandstand the entire time, bicker amongst themselves, take pot shots at Lew Wolff, or generally made asses of themselves. And some of the basic questions they were asking were just staggering when you consider this is the end of 14 months of negotiations, not the beginning.

    I mean they’ve been bashing the A’s for how “little” rent they pay, and then they find out that the A’s pay all their day of game expenses under the previous lease, and future lease, while the Raiders are given a 7 million dollar annual subsidy for the same expenses and pay 1/4th the rent the A’s do on the same venue. And none of them knew this!

  4. Shyeah, doing their due diligence, just like in Sacramento.

    One of the pieces of land they tried to give away was financed with public debt, so they were not allowed to give it away. The solution? Looks like they have to redo that ENTIRE bond, then pay $3M for the land out of the general fund, and THEN give the land away.

    Tell me again how this isn’t a gift of public funds…?

  5. Caught some of this last night on the stream… wow it just seemed they have never actually read the lease until that moment. For just these minor changes the cc folks seemed really upset at each other. Based on the questions and comments I would not of been surprised if one of them asked “what are we leasing here and to whom?”

    I hope for Oakland’s sake that these cc folks only get together when it comes to dealing with their sports franchises…actually business that matters thats a scary thought.

  6. Dan, I could not agree more with your comments. Very much on point. It does appear there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that Oakland, for all it’s buffoonery, actually has a chance to save the A’s. I’m trying to remain positive during this process but, yes, the civic leaders are making it hard.

  7. I would have to agree with Dean on this issue. Basically the only thing the Raiders could do at this point is live out their lease and go somewhere else next season. It could mean moving to LA, but that isn’t as simple as it seems. Moving to the Niners new stadium could work, but I doubt the relationship could survive the stadium in the long run because the Raiders colors are black and silver while the Niners colors are gold and red. It would be the Jets playing at Giants Stadium all over again. The only thing that could work short and long term is if the Raiders sign a lease for Candlestick Park, replace the seats, and live out their current lease in Oakland.

  8. Dan: Can you explain what you mean by the Raiders’ liability clause? I’m not seeing it mentioned elsewhere.

    (Update: Okay, I see now: The city and county would be absolved of liability if the Raiders do something, like sign a sponsorship agreement, that infringes on the A’s rights. Hard to tell from here how likely that is of happening, or how much it would actually cost the A’s, but agree that it’s more significant than the other typo stuff.)

  9. And, now the customary threat from NFL…


    It really isn’t about the actual changes to the lease that’s is objectionable, except for maybe the Raiders liability clause since that could be worth millions in a worst case scenario. What is objectionable is the method used to attempt to change the lease agreement. Over a year of negotiations produced an imperfect piece of paper but one the negotiating parties agreed with. Then to change it at a council meeting without the agreement of either negotiating party seems wrong..

    Again, other than the Raiders liability clause, the A’s have to decide if a fight is worthwhile. Same with the county. The county could simply vote on the original lease agreement and send that back to the city. That would setup deadlock, leaving the A’s in the middle with two lease agreements, each signed by a different landlord.

    The possible outcomes would seem to be:
    1) The A’s, county and JPA agree to the changes as-is. Lease is signed and everyone goes to up to 10 years of A’s games in Oakland. Raiders have a decision to make.

    2) The county approves the original lease agreement and sends that back to the city. City balks and the August 1st deadline passes without an agreement. Bud Selig responds to missed lease agreement deadline. Coliseum City has legs again.

    3) The county and JPA approves the city’s new lease version but the A’s won’t sign. Again, August 1st deadline passes without a lease agreement. Bud Selig responds to missed lease agreement deadline. Coliseum City has legs again.

    4) The county, JPA and A’s stick to the original lease agreement and send it back to the City. The City folds like a tent and agrees to the original lease agreement.

    5) The county, JPA and A’s fix the typos but remove any objectionable changes from the City. They all agree to the third version of the lease and then see if the City approves it. Bud Selig watches with press releases in hand. This is actually the best PR solution for the A’s. See City Council, we fixed those objectionable typos and gave in a little bit but not as much as you want. I’d also include in that press release that the differences were only very small (just as the city council said yesterday to the A’s representative).

    Should be an interesting time before August 1st in Oakland.

  10. Not much of a threat. It’s what should happen to the Raiders. Levi’s Stadium was designed to house them. They should give up this fantasy that is half a billion short of reality and simply move on the Niners gilded couch.

  11. Dan, it all depends upon who is offering the Raiders more money. If the 49ers as landlords offer better terms than the lease terms the Raiders have with Oakland (including the $7M a year subsidy) , then the Raiders will take it. If not, then they’ll stay in Oakland, assuming no one tries to change the terms in the next lease agreement.

    Jessy S., sorry but the color of the seats would only enter into this if somehow it was cheaper to purchase black and silver seats for a new stadium. The money is what counts for the Raiders, not the seat colors. BTW, isn’t the Coliseum covered in green seats?

  12. Raiders-to-Santa Clara might not be feasible due to PSL agreement 49ers have with fans.


  13. Guey:

    Sadly, this is not at all surprising. Most governing bodies (up to and including Congress) do not read the bills/agreements they are putting their names to. They order their administrative staff to read them and give them the 5 minute version…. which is one of the main reasons why these dopes agree to the stupid deals they agree to.

    By and large, they are too lazy to do the jobs they are elected to do. So you have spectacles like that Dan describes, where elected officials are doing their ‘homework’ during a public meeting in which they will need to have read and understood all the details they are just now learning…

  14. Raiders and 49’ers sharing Santa Clara makes so much sense, and maybe then the Pac 12 championships can go back to campuses. I hope so.

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