Three days after the Anaheim City Council voted unanimously to kill the sale of Angel Stadium, the Angels agreed on Friday not to contest the decision.
“We believe it is in the best interests of our fans, Angels Baseball and the community to accept the city’s cancellation,” Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey said in a statement.
In a letter to the angels this week, Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabela asked the angels to “join the city in recognizing that the [sale agreement] is void” and gave the team formal notice to keep the related documents in the event of a dispute.
In a statement, Acting Anaheim Mayor Trevor O’Neil praised the Angels for their cooperation.
“We welcome and thank the angels for their mutual understanding of what is needed at this time,” O’Neil said. “It’s the right thing to do.
“But a long-term plan for the stadium site and baseball in Anaheim are always opportunities we want to explore. We will continue to work to pass this moment with the door open for a fresh start when the time comes. »
It’s unclear if Angels owner Arte Moreno will engage in a new round of stadium negotiations. City told Moreno that a stadium deal had been done twice in a decade, only to see each deal fall apart.
The Angels remain obligated to play at Angel Stadium until at least 2029, and they have the right to extend their lease until 2038.
Long Beach has already invited the Angels to resume talks about a waterfront baseball stadium there, and the team is sure to receive expressions of interest from places in Southern California and possibly the -of the. The development site, which would have paid for a new or renovated Angel Stadium, is three times larger in Anaheim than in Long Beach.
However, the Angels’ statement on Friday made no mention or promise of future negotiations.
Mike Lyster, the city’s spokesman, said Anaheim would return the $50 million Moreno had placed in receivership, under a provision of the agreement that allows him to get that money back if the city waives. to the agreement before the conclusion.
In 2019, the city and the Angels agreed to a sale later valued at $320 million – $150 million in cash, the rest in development credits to entice Moreno to include affordable housing and parks in the project. of 15 acres. The deal would have anchored the Angels in Anaheim until at least 2050 and could have provided the city with tax revenue estimated at $650 million over 30 years, as homes, stores, restaurants, hotels and offices sprouted atop the stadium parking lot.
On May 16, however, an FBI affidavit alleged that Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu leaked confidential information about the city’s land valuation to the Angels — at a time when the city was negotiating against the Angels — in the hope of obtaining a campaign contribution of one million dollars. of the team.
Sidhu’s lawyer denied the claim, but Sidhu resigned as mayor on Monday. On Tuesday, the city council killed the deal.
In Fabela’s letter to the Angels, the city took the position that the alleged fraud in an FBI affidavit rendered the sale agreement “void in law and in public policy”.
With Friday’s decision, what could have been years of litigation between City and the team appears to have been averted.
Full statement from the angels:
“For nearly a decade now, Angels Baseball has worked with the city to be able to continue to provide a high-quality fan experience at Angel Stadium and create certainty for the team’s future in Anaheim.
“There has been a lot of misinformation and lies throughout this process and we want to be clear: We negotiated in good faith with all city officials and staff and created a fair deal that was good for Anaheim. and Angels Baseball.
“Given that the City Council voted unanimously to cancel the Stadium Field Agreement, we believe it is in the best interests of our fans, Angels Baseball and the community to accept the cancellation of the city. Now we will continue to focus on our fans and the baseball season. »
Los Angeles Times