The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority and Oakland Athletics traded barbs Wednesday in the press, with the authority claiming the baseball team owes more than $5 million in unpaid rent for more than five years and the A’s president, Michael Crowley, breaking off talks.
Wednesday morning, the Coliseum Authority released a statement (h/t CSNBayArea.com) with regards to talks with the A’s to negotiate a 10-year lease for the aging facility.
“The authority made an offer to keep the Athletics at O.co Coliseum that safeguarded city and county taxpayers while addressing the team’s concerns,” said authority chairman Nate Miley, also an Alameda County supervisor. “Unfortunately, it took less than a few hours for them to reject that offer. Despite this, we are still committed to negotiating a fair deal.”
The authority cited the unpaid rent as one of the issues and claims the A’s asked that the debt be written off. The authority says the funds could be used for hiring more police or funding public health services.
The authority also claims the A’s are asking for rent subsidies of $3.5 million a year.
“We look forward to addressing these issues and are committed to negotiations,” said authority vice-chair Larry Reid, also an Oakland City Council member. “We agree with the A’s that they should stay for at least 10 years and we are staying at the bargaining table. We look forward to continued discussions and to coming to an agreement on a mutually beneficial lease.”
If the Coliseum Authority plans on remaining at the bargaining table, however, it appears they will be doing so alone.
Crowley, in a statement released by the A’s, was straight-forward, if not entirely diplomatic.
“First, we owe no back rent or any other amounts,” Crowley said. “We did deduct rent payments in the past for items that we are allowed under our lease, but that was our negotiated right.
“Second, there is absolutely nothing in either our lease offer to them or their counter proposal to us that mentions any kind of subsidy. In fact, under our final offer we would immediately invest no less than $10 million in the facility and our rent would rise from the amounts that we have paid over the last decade.
“We have nothing additional to offer and as a result there will be no further negotiations.”
All that was missing from that missive from the A’s was the obligatory “so there,” but perhaps it was implied.
With the A’s hopes of a new stadium in San Jose on life support, at best, it appears the club’s options are limited—stay in Oakland and continue to work for a new stadium in the East Bay or try to fight an uphill battle with Major League Baseball for some sort of other relocation.
The San Francisco Giants have offered to share AT&T Park with the A’s while a new stadium is built in Oakland, an offer that was rejected by the A’s almost immediately.