Angel Stadium Sale Case: Anaheim Officials Details Negotiation Time

The City of Anaheim and the owners of the Angels discussed the future of the Angel Stadium property for half a year. On August 23, 2019, the Anaheim City Council was advised that the Angels should purchase land rather than lease it. On September 24, 2019, the council agreed to negotiate a sale of the property.

Those meetings took place behind closed doors, but City Councilman Jose Moreno and former city manager Chris Zapata testified to that timeline in separate statements filed late Wednesday at Orange County Superior Court. Statements supporting the filing in a lawsuit in which a group of citizens asked a court to declare the sale invalid.

Over the next month, the city faces two challenges to the viability of the stadium sale. The case is scheduled to be heard on February 14.

Separately, the state agency has determined The sale was against the law to maximize the development of affordable housing. The city has until February 6 to resolve that violation.

On December 4, 2019, City announces sale of the 150-acre property – the stadium and surrounding parking lots – for $325 million to a start-up development controlled by Angels owner Arte Moreno. At the next board meeting, on December 20, Council approved the agreement, where the Angels will remain in Anaheim at least until 2050, and Moreno’s company will surround Mike Trout with a neighborhood of homes, offices, hotels, and dining and shopping options .

In a filing Wednesday, the People’s Homelessness Task Force argued the sale violated the Brown Act, a state law that typically requires public business to be conducted publicly. – because “all points of agreement [had] negotiated in secret. The complaint alleges five violations of the Brown Act, most notably by failing to provide timely public notice that the land would be sold rather than leased.

“The pros and cons of the decision to sell versus lease out public property, and the final decision to sell that property must be discussed in a public, not closed session, according to the filing.

Jose Moreno – with no ties to owner Angels – was one of two council members who voted against the deal. Zapata resigned under pressure last year and is now city manager in Sausalito.

In 2018, the council publicly assessed land values ​​for both rental and sale scenarios, although the city declined to release the appraisal. In August 2019 – in an op-ed article, at a press conference and at a public board meeting – Mayor Harry Sidhu said the city should look at rentals and sales and he would insist on market value in some way.

City spokesman Mike Lyster said when the lawsuit was first filed in 2020, “We’ve always followed our process,” which took a year-long public comment, update, meeting. and discussions for our city council, as well as widely sharing the information with the community.”

The city council has met twice since the state agency notified the city of the affordable housing violation, but neither meeting discussed the issue in public.

City staff met with state agency representatives Tuesday to discuss options for putting the property up for auction as required by law. By law, a city cannot sell public land without first providing developers with affordable housing.

If the city council decides no put the land up for bidding, the council would have two other obvious options: sue the state, as the city has repeatedly argued that the latest version of the affordable housing law does not apply to the Angel Stadium sale; or pay a fine of approximately $96 million, which would leave the city with $54 million in cash from the sale.

Instead of paying all in cash, the city agreed credit to Moreno’s company for $170 million towards including park land and 15% affordable housing in the project. The city has previously offered to address the issue by committing to providing more affordable housing elsewhere in Anaheim; the agency does not want to separate lower-income families from the stadium area.

If the city does not address the violation, the housing agency can also refer the matter to the state attorney general for potential legal action. Angel Stadium Sale Case: Anaheim Officials Details Negotiation Time

Andrew Schnitker

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