Anaheim failed to ask Angels owner for $8m fee for breaking lease, mayor waves it off as “distraction”

I’ve been trying to give new Anaheim mayor Harry Sidhu and the newly elected members of the Anaheim city council the benefit of the doubt that they’re really intent on negotiating a new lease for the Los Angeles Angels that will benefit the public, even after they gave Angels owner Arte Moreno a ten-year lease extension while pretending it wasn’t one and promised to make public an appraisal of the stadium land Moreno wants then withheld it from the public once it was done. But it really doesn’t make it any easier when it’s revealed that the city could have collected an $8 million termination fee when Moreno terminated his lease last fall, but decided not to bother:

“As a condition of such termination,” the lease reads, “Tenant shall pay or cause to be paid to Landlord a termination fee.”

The amount was $8 million. Yet the city did not collect that $8 million, or even try to do so, or even mention it when the city council voted to reinstate the Angels’ lease three months later.

City officials apparently didn’t even tell the city council that they could have tried to collect the $8 million — this was revealed in questioning by councilmember Jose Moreno, who said he “absolutely” would have wanted to know what the city was passing up by allowing Moreno to reinstate his lease — and Sidhu now calls the termination fee a “distraction” from signing up the Angels to a new lease. Or, you know, it could have been a point of leverage — “we’ll waive that termination fee you owe us if you agree to pay more for our parking lots” — but as has been established, city officials tend to be terrible negotiators, especially those who have stated up front that their top goal is to get a deal done, not necessarily a good deal.

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