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Chase Field Negotiations Stalled

Arizona Diamondbacks

The dispute between the Arizona Diamondbacks and Maricopa County over Chase Field continues, with negotiations having stalled since a recent court ruling. 

Last month, Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins ordered the two sides to settle their dispute over the condition of Chase Field in arbitration. The D-Backs had previously filed a suit to force the county to spend $187 million on deferred maintenance, with the county countering that the issues were the responsibility of the team. The county additionally argued that the lease agreement for Chase Field mandated arbitration, while the team had been pushing for a court trial.

Recent issues at Chase Field have included a burst sanitation pipe that forced D-Backs workers from their offices, as well as a problem with the air-conditioning system flooding restaurants, team offices and suites before a game. The D-Backs believe that additional pipes around the ballpark are “rotting from the inside,” and that those issues most be resolved within the year.

The team has asked Mullins for legal intervention in speeding up negotiations, saying that complications during the selection process for the arbitration panel could cause delays to ballpark upgrades. The county, however, claims that upgrades are still planned to take place on schedule. More from the Arizona Republic:

Team officials warned that without the judge’s intervention, stadium improvements could be delayed in the 2017-18 off-season. County officials disagree, noting $4 million in repairs to concrete and steel structures at the stadium are on track.

“Time is of the essence because critical decisions need to be made regarding, among other things, how to use very scarce resources … to tackle a rapidly increasing list of needed repairs,” [Diamondbacks private attorney Leo] Beus told Mullins in an Aug. 29 filing.

Negotiations in the lawsuit have stalled because the two parties have failed to agree on selecting a three-person arbitration panel, Beus said.

He asked the judge to set a Sept. 30 deadline for choosing arbitrators, while reiterating the team’s request to move. He cited the recent case of pipes bursting and air conditioning shutting down at the stadium, a repair that county officials argue is the team’s responsibility.

Under the terms of their lease, the D-Backs are to stay at Chase Field until 2028, and cannot begin discussions with another party about a new ballpark until 2024.

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