Anaheim fires world’s worst stadium negotiator who gave Angels three extra years to threaten to leave

It took a couple of years, but the Anaheim city council voted last week to fire Charles Black, the local developer who’d been in charge of lease talks with the Los Angeles Angels. All Black had done was give Angels owner Arte Moreno an extra three years on his lease opt-out clause on the grounds that “he has the resources and willingness to build his own stadium,” offer to give Moreno $245 million of land around the stadium for $1, and generally piss off Mayor Tom Tait, who for some reason was opposed to a style of negotiations that involved offering the Angels valuable gifts in exchange for not much of anything.

Black will now be replaced by local Democratic operative Wylie Aitken. We’ll have to wait and see how well he does at talking with Moreno about a new lease — something there hasn’t been much of since the Angels owner publicly announced last fall that he was shutting down talks and opening negotiations to move to Tustin, talks that promptly went nowhere fast — but he can’t do much worse than his predecessor.

2 comments on “Anaheim fires world’s worst stadium negotiator who gave Angels three extra years to threaten to leave

  1. The Charles Black backstory is even worse than that: Black actually resigned about a year ago as the negotiating process began to tank, but the city attorney and interim city manager *REHIRED THE GUY* fairly recently, ostensibly on the basis of Black’s unparalleled knowledge of the business of baseball and insidery connections with Angels execs (before going into development in San Diego, Black was president of the Padres for four years).

    Perhaps bringing Black back could be ascribed to gross incompetence on the part of city staff, but I think that The Powers That Be really had the hubris to think that they could rerun the exact same deal and get the outcome they originally wanted this time around.

  2. My understanding was that the Angels were going to pay for ~$140 million of necessary repairs (original plumbing still there and failing) in exchange for the ability to develop part of the parking lot on which the city has done nothing with in 50 years. This is what the city actually offered at one point. City gets new tax revenue source. Parking structures will need to be built if that development happens. The alternative if the Angels leave is a huge bill to tear down the Big A and then partner with somebody to develop the area. Both sides think the have leverage. The extension was because most of the city council wants the deal to get done.