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Thursday, June 24, 2021

State agency to Anaheim: Angel Stadium sale might violate California law

The agreement in which the city of Anaheim sold Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots to a company affiliated with Angels owner Arte Moreno “may be in violation” of state law, a state agency has warned the city.

No violation has been determined, and any such violation would not necessarily kill the deal. However, Anaheim could be subject to financial penalties steep enough that the city might make less than $2 for every $10 of fair-market value on the 150-acre property.

In an April 28 letter to the city obtained by The Times, the California Department of Housing and Community Development indicated Anaheim failed to comply with a state law requiring the city to solicit bids from affordable housing developers before offering a property to other parties.

In a June 14 reply, also obtained by The Times, the city said the law had not taken effect before the city entered into exclusive negotiations with Moreno’s company. HCD said any exclusive negotiating agreement was neither written nor binding by the required date.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 24, 2021 at 12:46 PM | 9 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: angels

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   1. Anonymous Observer Posted: June 24, 2021 at 01:16 PM (#6026121)
What DOESN'T violate California law?
   2. GregD Posted: June 24, 2021 at 02:01 PM (#6026133)
There are always flaws in any law but this is a good one. The city has to simply solicit bids for affordable housing. That's it. Then they can do their engineered sweetheart deal with Moreno. The city doesn't want to do that because they don't want to be exposed for the deal they made. But exposing the other options and clarifying what local governments are choosing is exactly what a good state law is supposed to do, to protect the city's citizens from corrupt or seemingly corrupt practices by town and city governments.
   3. Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: June 24, 2021 at 03:55 PM (#6026160)
From the LA Times last September:
The city also expects to generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue from the project by 2050, when it is scheduled for completion...[SNIP] The estimates for tax revenue came from a study commissioned by Moreno’s company. Lyster said the city did not commission an independent report because its consultants reviewed the study and found it credible.
Moreno gave them a price, and the city just said, "Gosh, okay!" The Anaheim city council was in Moreno's pocket. Everyone knew it then, everyone knows it now.
   4. Howie Menckel Posted: June 24, 2021 at 06:30 PM (#6026183)
it's possible that these tax revenue estimates are achieved - I mean, I am not aware of it ever happening, in the long history of arena and stadium projections. but hey, maybe this is the one.

only report even vaguely similar that I ever heard of, where the actual tax revenues exceeded projections, iirc was for the "racino" at Aqueduct in Queens, NYC a decade ago. they underestimated how much money locals were willing to spend even without live-dealer table games. video versions and slot machines were a sufficient lure, as it turned out.
   5. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: June 24, 2021 at 06:41 PM (#6026185)
Is this why my city can't afford or be bothered to fix the lights at the Little League fields we played on last night, when we had to cut our scrimmage short due to darkness? I love Anaheim, but it also really gets on my nerves sometimes.
   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 24, 2021 at 07:39 PM (#6026196)
California Department of Housing and Community Development indicated Anaheim failed to comply with a state law requiring the city to solicit bids from affordable housing developers before offering a property to other parties.
The obvious ‘compromise’ is to convert a few suites to ‘affordable’ apartments. Win-win, eh?
   7. Shohei Brotani (formerly LA Hombre) Posted: June 24, 2021 at 09:16 PM (#6026223)
The city didn't get competing bids for affordable housing because Moreno was contracted to build them. And rather than having companies bid to build affordable housing, the city would instead slash their price to Moreno by $170 million dollars, and give Moreno a $170 million tax credit.

To summarize, Arte Moreno bought, for $150 million, a parcel of land that had been appraised at over $500 million if it were just an empty lot rather than one with a really nice modern baseball stadium, plus $170 million in tax credits to build apartments that he was contractually obligated to build anyways.

The best part is, when you drive through the Angel Stadium parking lot, you can spy the premium parking reserved for Anaheim city council members.
   8. Howie Menckel Posted: June 24, 2021 at 11:51 PM (#6026252)
the main agreement reached to determine funding for the new Yankee Stadium a dozen years ago featured a wide swath of elected officials from The Bronx adorned in Yankees hats. it was not difficult to determine which side of the bargaining table they occupied between the Yankees and, well, the public.

I have mentioned before that at one point the Yankees tried to push back - before the final ink was signed - on handing over an entire stadium luxury suite to these elected officials. THAT is when the pols bared their fangs, and reminded the Yankees who was boss (or so they thought). they got their box - and, I assume, still enjoy those perks all these years later. for the hundreds of millions that the Yankees saved on construction costs, wetting those beaks was a small price to pay.

that's also hardly a unique situation.
   9. Bhaakon Posted: June 25, 2021 at 07:02 PM (#6026377)
The corruption in local government is really amazing. The examples involving sports teams are merely the most obvious because they actually get a modicum of press coverage. The same kind of thing goes on constantly under the radar in all jurisdictions. It's probably worse in rural areas, where a single employers can either directly or indirectly employ so many citizens that it is essentially a company town. The panic when management got wind that a state inspector--some guy who wasn't being comped thousands of dollars in services a year like the local inspectors and elected officials were--was going to make a surprise visit was palpable (and justified, they get raked over the coals).

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