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Group Threatening Lawsuit Over Angel Stadium Sale

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

There could be a lawsuit over Anaheim’s approval of a deal to sell Angel Stadium and surrounding land to a development group led by Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno, as a group of residents contends negotiations were made in violation of a California transparency law.

Last month, the Anaheim City Council approved the broad outlines of a deal to sell 153 acres–including Angel Stadium and its surrounding parking lots, as well as the City National Grove of Anaheim theater–to SRB Management Co. LLC, where Moreno is the controlling partner. The sale price is proposed at $325 million, though the final cost will be determined after factors like community benefits, a workforce agreement, affordable housing and a specific commitment to the Angels staying in Anaheim are negotiated in early 2020.

A legal challenge might be levied in the aftermath of the city council’s decision to approve the deal, as an attorney representing a group of Anaheim residents threatened a lawsuit in a January 19 demand letter. In that letter, it was alleged that the city violated the Brown Act–a California transparency law–by negotiating the terms of the deal outside of the public view. Although the letter did not state that a lawsuit has been filed, it did threaten the possibility of filing a legal challenge. More from the Voice of OC:

“The pros and cons of the decision to sell vs. lease public property and the ultimate decision to sell the property must be agendized as an open session item for discussion. Many of the terms included in the Purchase and Sale Agreement and the Fact Sheet, released prior to the December 20 special meeting, would not be permitted to be discussed in closed session either,” states the letter….

“We stand by our process,” said City of Anaheim Spokesman Mike Lyster on Monday.

Thus, the Dec. 20 sale of Angels Stadium and 153-acres of land around it to a shadowy LLC ownership group that includes Angels’ owner Arte Moreno will likely be challenged in court if the city doesn’t re-do the negotiations in public.

“If the Board fails or refuses to cure and correct or respond as demanded, my client will seek judicial invalidation of the challenged actions…” states [attorney Kelly] Aviles’ letter.

While there were some objections to the sale potentially undervaluing the 153-acre site, approval was expected ahead of last month’s vote. A sale of the land to SRB Management would be part of an ongoing effort to redevelop the property in the future, with Moreno and his investors expected to pursue a mixed-use development concept that emulates models such as The Battery Atlanta. Additionally, the Angels would agree to remain in Anaheim through 2050 (with five five-year options), playing at either a new or renovated ballpark that would anchor the development. Angel Stadium is currently the fourth-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, having originally opened in 1966 and receiving its most recent renovation in 1998.

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