The proposed $85 million sale of Alameda County’s half of the Oakland Coliseum site to the owners of the A’s is just getting weirder and weirder, with a possible lawsuit now in the offing:
In a letter delivered to county officials Monday, Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan and Vice Mayor Larry Reid noted that the deal between the county and the baseball club lacked any provision for building a ballpark for community benefit to be included in the sale.
The letter ends with the request for the county to “clarify” whether it planned to go forward with the A’s sale, so that the city could “determine effective next steps.”
The city’s letter made no mention of what the “next steps” might be, but a separate Aug. 31 email to Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said the letter is for “the purpose of potential litigation.”
(Yes, “August 31.” Either that’s a typo, or Phil Matier has become unstuck in time.)
At issue here is that the city of Oakland wants a shot at purchasing the county’s half-share of the site as well, but hasn’t actually placed a bid, in part because the city of Oakland doesn’t actually have $85 million to spare. Also, some city council members are hoping to have the A’s build a stadium on the Coliseum site rather than their preferred Howard Terminal site, and are hoping that the county will hold off on its sale to help create leverage for that, or for a community benefits agreement, or for something.
The weird part is that the A’s owners’ plan is to develop the Coliseum site and use the proceeds to build a Howard Terminal stadium, which presumably can’t happen unless they control 100% of the land. (At least, that’s how I understand it from following the fairly half-assed media coverage; I’m sure you readers will correct me if that’s wrong.) So this may just be a weird proxy war being fought over the A’s stadium site plans, which could turn into a lawsuit between two government agencies over a financing plan that still no one quite understands. Nobody said this was gonna be easy.