Moving

A’s agree they’re shifting, pays $45 million owed for Coliseum stake

The Coliseum’s field is littered with trash thrown by fans after the A’s beat the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13. A’s fans staged a “reverse boycott” to pack the stadium in protest of owner John Fisher’s plan to move the team to Las Vegas.

Provided by Mike Ostler

A week after Alameda County sent notice to A’s owner John Fisher to pay the county $45 million by May 14 for the team’s half of the Coliseum property, the A’s responded on Thursday.

In a letter acquired by the Chronicle to Nate Miley, president of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, the A’s said they will follow the terms of the agreement from their purchase in 2019.

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“CWP agrees that the acceleration of the Annual Purchase Price Components was triggered on November 16, 2023, and that any outstanding Annual Purchase Price Components are due and payable by May 14, 2024. We will continue to satisfy our obligations under the Agreement, including the obligations set forth in Section 3.6 (of the deposition agreement),” wrote D’Lonra C. Ellis, chief legal officer of Coliseum Way Partners LLC, which represents Fisher and the A’s.

The A’s bought the county’s 50% interest in the Coliseum site for $85 million four years ago and so far have paid $40 million. The terms call for the A’s to pay $15 million in January 2024, February 2025 and January 2026, but a clause in the agreement was triggered requiring the A’s to pay it off earlier.

Dec. 17, 1986: Members of the Oakland Athletics including Carney Lansford, Dave Stewart, Mike Davis and Bill Krueger rehearse for Clockwise, from top left: Warriors' Joe Lacob, A's John Fisher,  Giants' Charles Johnson and San Francisco 49ers’ owner Jed York.

The clause states the A’s must pay the remaining balance within 180 days of announcing the team would leave Oakland; May 14 is 180 days after 30 MLB owners voted unanimously Nov. 16 for the A’s to relocate to Las Vegas.

In last week’s letter to the A’s, Miley pointed out that both Fisher and team president Dave Kaval, on the day of the vote, made comments confirming they’re pulling the team out of Oakland. Evidently, Fisher chose not to challenge the county in court, which might have delayed the final payment, or back out of the deal to allow Oakland to move forward on community-friendly projects.

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The other half of the 155-acre Coliseum property is owned by the City of Oakland, which is in an exclusive negotiating agreement to sell to the African American Sports and Entertainment Group, an Oakland organization formed to pursue development of the property. In September, the group offered to purchase Fisher’s half and was rejected.

The A’s haven’t revealed their plans for the property, so any discussion on future development is sticky. The 50-50 split doesn’t mean the property  literally is divided in half; instead, the two parties equally share the land and must abide by a cooperation agreement for any development at the site, which could be complicated by Fisher’s undivided 50% ownership.

The purchase of the property by the A’s appears to have been conducted in a less-than-upfront manner. In 2019, Kaval wrote a letter to the Oakland City Council pleading that the A’s needed to buy the Coliseum site as a backup in case the Howard Terminal ballpark plan fell through. However, shortly after the A’s bought into the property, Kaval declared the Coliseum was unsuitable for Major League Baseball.

The A’s walked away from negotiations with the city on Howard Terminal in April and focused all their attention on Las Vegas. In June, they were gifted $380 million in taxpayer money by Nevada lawmakers to help fund their ballpark on the Las Vegas Strip.

MLB owners voted 30-0 last month to approve the relocation even though a Las Vegas ballpark wouldn’t open until 2028, at the earliest, and the A’s have yet to determine where they will play in 2025, ’26 and ’27. The Coliseum lease expires after the 2024 season.

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Reach John Shea: jshea@sfchronicle.com; Twitter: @JohnSheaHey. Reach Scott Ostler: sostler@sfchronicle.com; Twitter: @scottostler

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