Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf confirmed in a television interview Tuesday that Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred warned city officials that the Athletics could relocate to Las Vegas if the city didn’t drop its lawsuit to stop Alameda County from selling its share of the Coliseum to the team.
Oakland and Alameda County share ownership of the Coliseum and the city wants Alameda County to sell its half of the stadium to the city instead of to the A’s. The San Francisco Chronicle reports the city can’t match the A’s offer of $85 million for the venue.
City Councilman Larry Reid had told the newspaper earlier this week that Manfred had made the suggestion that Las Vegas could be a possible relocation site for the A’s in meetings with city officials last week.
“The reports of that are accurate,” Schaaf said in the interview with KTVU-TV. “[Las Vegas] is the city that came out of his mouth.”
Oakland will soon lose its NFL team, the Raiders, to Las Vegas, possibly as soon as 2020. So Manfred’s choice of a possible relocation city was meant to strike a nerve, Schaaf said.
“Obviously he chose his city wisely as far as exposing a pain-point that all Oaklanders feel about losing our sports teams,” she said, calling the lawsuit “misguided.”
Oakland had sued Alameda County to block its sale of its share of the Coliseum to the A’s and a judge issued a temporary restraining order last week blocking the transaction. The A’s, who want to build a new stadium at Howard Terminal on the waterfront and redevelop the land around the Coliseum, are hoping it would help subsidize the cost of a privately owned new stadium.
A’s president Dave Kaval said last week that the franchise was “blindsided” by the restraining order being granted.
“I will say though that I absolutely see a path to a new ballpark right … at Howard Terminal,” Schaaf said. “As well as really giving the A’s the opportunity to do a community-serving development out at the Coliseum as well as to maintain that as a background plan. I see this path. I am confident we will get there.”
Schaaf told KTVU that the city’s lawsuit was filed “over my objection.”
“I don’t think that it serves the public when two governmental agencies are suing each other,” Schaaf said. “It certainly is my direction that the city and the county work collaboratively. We are co-owners of this land. The board of supervisors are so well-intentioned. They want to do right by their constituents, which are our constituents, so I believe we will get something done collaboratively and put this lawsuit behind us.”
The next court hearing in the city’s lawsuit is scheduled for Nov. 14, according to the Chronicle.