In the final legal briefing filed before the trial that took place on Monday, February 14, a group of residents challenging the sale of Angel Stadium are trying to puncture a hole in the dispute of Anaheim that their discussions and negotiations follow the law.
An Orange County Superior Court judge next week will hear arguments in a lawsuit filed by the OC People’s Homelessness Task Force in 2020, alleging Anaheim officials violated assembly law. open state meeting when deciding to sell the property and break the terms of the $320 million settlement. agree.
City officials have denied the lawsuit’s claims. In a preemptive statement – sent Monday night before the task force’s final summary was submitted to the court – Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said, “We have always maintained that this is a futile lawsuit aimed at disrupting an open, public process for the purchase and sale of stadium venues. widely supported by our community. Nothing has changed, and we continue our process.”
After several failed attempts to negotiate a new stadium lease, Anaheim began serious talks again with Angels Baseball in early 2019. In December of that year, the City Council approved an agreement to sell the assets. 150-acre stadium property for Angels owner Arte Moreno. , SRB Management, for $150 million in cash and $170 million in community benefits including affordable housing and a 7-acre city flagship park.
In the court case, the two sides dispute whether City Hall followed the law, known as the Brown Act, in the way it warns the public about closed discussions about the stadium’s future, it said. provide the public with opportunities to consider potential stadium sales, and how and when city officials decide to sell rather than lease stadium assets.
In court statements supporting the lawsuit, former city manager Chris Zapata and Councilmember Jose Moreno said the council learned during a closed-door meeting in August 2019 that Angels Baseball wanted to buy the stadium property. action and the board subsequently decided separately to pursue a sale.
In a response filed last month, the city argued that Moreno and Zapata’s statement was not only inaccurate but also against the law by disclosing the closed discussion without the council’s permission and without prior authorization. considered as evidence in the case.
Late Monday, the task force’s attorney, Kelly Aviles, filed a brief argument that the statements from Moreno and Zapata were protected by state whistleblower protection and permissive law. officials disclose confidential discussions if they believe illegal action may have taken place.
Another point the city has spent considerable time detailing is whether the City Council will create a formal negotiating team to meet with Angels Baseball and make a decision on the proposal to put the council to a waiver. vote or not. The lawsuit argues that such a group would also be subject to Brown Act rules about public notice of meetings and what must be discussed publicly versus privately.
Anaheim argues that “the city’s negotiating ‘team’ is an ever-changing group of city employees who are consulted as needed,” with Mayor Harry Sidhu participating as council representative, and therefore it does not fall under the Brown Act.
Aviles’ Monday filing called the city’s argument “fabricated to mislead” the court and pointed out that on June 4, 2019, the city’s press release said the city had “gathered a negotiating team” including Sidhu, Zapata and City Attorney. Rob Fabela.
Records show that the team met several times to discuss the stadium deal, and without the negotiating team, “how the city interpreted the deal negotiated,” Aviles wrote.
The sale is yet to close in escrow, but city officials said they expect it to happen early this year. It will allow SRB Management to develop hotels, restaurants, shops and offices, and more than 5,000 homes over the next few decades, as well as a new or significantly renovated baseball stadium .
The lawsuit asks the court to withdraw the agreement so that it can be re-executed with proper public participation and notice. The city has argued that it would be wrong to void the agreement because it does not violate the law.
Superior Court Judge David A. Hoffer will hear the case on Monday.
https://www.ocregister.com/2022/02/08/final-arguments-filed-in-lawsuit-challenging-angel-stadium-sale-ahead-of-monday-court-hearing/ Final arguments filed in lawsuit opposing Angel Stadium sale ahead of Monday hearing – Orange County Register