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Los Angeles Angels stadium sale could trigger lawsuit against city of Anaheim: Report

Thomas Barrabi

A group of Anaheim, California, residents is threatening legal action against city council members over their approval of a $325 million sale of the Los Angeles Angels’ stadium and surrounding land, according to a report on Tuesday.

Represented by open government attorney Kelly Aviles, the group of residents alleged in a Jan. 19 letter that the Anaheim City Council failed to adhere to California’s transparency laws during the negotiation and approval process, the Voice of OC reported. In the letter, Aviles warns that the group could pursue legal action unless the city agrees to re-open negotiations for public scrutiny.

“The pros and cons of the decision to sell vs. lease public property and the ultimate decision to sell the property must be agendized as an open session item for discussion,” the letter said, according to the Voice of OC.

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Angels owner Arte Moreno and his business partners agreed to buy Angel Stadium and 153 acres of city land for $325 million in a deal that would also keep the MLB franchise in Anaheim through 2050. The city council approved the sale agreement, which valued the land at $2.1 million per acre, on Dec. 20.

Negotiations at the time generated some pushback related to concerns over transparency and the price tag, which some deemed too low, according to the Orange County Register.

The Anaheim City Council defended its approach to the deal.

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“We stand by our process,” Mike Lyster, a spokesman for the city of Anaheim, said in a statement to FOX Business. “While we welcome any and all questions as part of the conversation about the stadium, the speculation and characterizations of the letter are unfounded and without merit.”

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The agreement called for Moreno’s SRB Management LLC to assume sole financial responsibility for any future renovations at Angel Stadium. The firm plans to develop the surrounding land.

City officials said last December that SRB Management’s construction of “apartments, condominiums, hotels and entertainment uses” on the land could yield at least $7 million in annual tax revenue for Anaheim. The city projected savings of $17 million on contractually obligated stadium upgrades through 2038.

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