Will Raiders stiff Oakland Coliseum JPA $1 million in stadium parking monies owed?
Mark Davis, The Oakland Raiders' Owner, is angry that the City of Oakland's filed a federal lawsuit against the organization over the Las Vegas Relocation, which it calls “unlawful.” While the legality of the Las Vegas move is certainly questionable, trying to skip town without paying monies owed to the Coliseum is clearly illegal. Yet, that's exactly what the Raiders seem poised to do – behave illegally.
According to Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority (Coliseum JPA) Executive Director Scott McKibben, the Raiders “sent me an email that they were taking the lease extension off the table” on Wednesday. Moreover, the Raiders President Marc Badain told reporters that they have "options" in places to play, other than the Oakland Coliseum. When this blogger asked McKibben about that with respect to the parking money owed, the former Rose Bowl boss said the “parking issue was not fully resolved but funds were in escrow (with Raiders).”
Technicalities aside, the money the team owes is not in the bank for the Coliseum, and the Oakland Raiders have not paid the $1 million (really $920,000 and not $800,000 as other media outlets have reported and failed to read the Coliseum documents) in parking revenue collected to the Coliseum that could have gotten it evicted over a year ago.
Scott McKibben was being nice, but the bottom line is the Raiders owe the Coliseum $1 million. Here's is how that happened.
On April 5th of 2017, the Oakland Coliseum JPA learned that the Raiders were allowed to go four years, or back to 2013, paying only the “minimal” amount in parking fees that was due, and not the full amount due. In other words, the Raiders owed the full annual total, but only paid the smallest amount, and got by without punishment by the Coliseum JPA (and in fairness to McKibben, he did not take over for Deena McClain until late 2014, and 2015 was his first full year at the helm).
On that day of the news of the parking moneys owed, Oakland District Seven Councilmember and Coliseum JPA Board Member Larry Reid said “It’s a slap in the face. It’s frustrating. We’ve got to make sure that we hold them accountable and that they repay back to the public the money that is owed.”
Well, fast forward to today, and the Raiders are about to complete their second season of NFL Football without paying the Coliseum a dime of the $920,000 in parking revenue owed.
This blogger's not speaking for McKibben, but if this blogger were the Coliseum JPA head, the Raiders would not even be able to dream of playing football at the Coliseum on Christmas Eve if they didn't pay that $1 million owed.
And why not? Have you seen the track record of disrespect the Raiders under Mark Davis have shown the City of Oakland and what are called “The East Bay Entities?” AKA Alameda County and the Coliseum JPA? Let's take the whole issue of the Oakland Raiders needing a new stadium, shall we?
Mark Davis Never Gave Oakland A Chance To Build An NFL Raiders Stadium
Mark Davis' father the legendary pioneer Oakland Raiders Owner and Manager of The General Partnership Al Davis passed away on October 8th 2011. Mark Davis officially took control of the Oakland Raiders on that day.
Almost from that point, Mark Davis publicly expressed a desire to keep the Raiders in Oakland, but never seriously took action on his words. To add insult to injury, Mark did that even as he constantly held up another city as a place to move the team, starting with Los Angeles in 2011.
And yet Davis' words would ignite a round of City of Oakland and County of Alameda working on building a new stadium for the Silver and Black as part of what came to be called the “Coliseum City” proposal.
(And on that, let's clean up a small bit of fake news out there: the Raiders returned to Oakland because the Coliseum was upgraded for the organization in 1995. Earnest talk of the need for a new stadium didn't happen until 2011 or when Mark took control of the team. Thus, any claim that the Raiders have sought a new stadium from Oakland for over 20 years is just not true.)
In 2007 then Raiders Chief Executive Officer Amy Trask told the San Francisco Chronicle, the Silver and Black was happy at the Coliseum. "We are enthusiastically focused on the 2007 football season, and don't believe this is an appropriate time to discuss stadium opportunities. ...We are playing in a nice stadium, which our teams and fans enjoy." And Amy should have added “that we've occupied for 11 years, not 30 years” to that point.
And on Twitter this week, Trask (who resigned from the Raiders in 2013) added that, contrary to popular belief, the Oakland A's were willing to vacate the Coliseum if the Raiders wanted to build a new stadium there:
This was certainly not the case while I was with the @raiders - the @Athletics told me repeatedly that if we were ready to build on that site that they would vacate it to facilitate our so doing - they were not an obstacle. https://t.co/yySjbsItxH
— Amy Trask (@AmyTrask) December 12, 2018
(And, as a note, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums established the Sports and Entertainment Task force that this blogger was a member of in May of 2009. There, we were introduced to the first cut of what became “Coliseum City” and by its creators Frank Dobson, Bob Lesty, and Steve Lowe.)
It wasn't until Mark Davis took over in 2011 that the whole process of playing Raiders Stadium City whack-a-mole really started. And during the entire seven year period, Davis never once bothered to seek NFL money to pay for upgrades to improve the Oakland Coliseum; it was a constant game of Davis saying he wanted to stay in Oakland, the City doing work, Davis having any real work done on a stadium in Oakland, and Davis mentioning and meeting with officials in other cities.
Oh, and what is meant by “real work done on a stadium in Oakland?” Predevelopment work: architectural drawings created by and paid for by the Raiders, including a financing plan. A real, live blueprint the Raiders could have developed to help the City and County build a new stadium on Coliseum grounds.
The Raiders have never made one up for the Coliseum. There are only two concept drawings and presentations of a Raiders Stadium in Oakland at the Coliseum (or anywhere else) and that's the one Floyd Kephart created, and the one Mark Davis asked me to create and can be seen at the website Coliseum Reboot.
The Raiders have nothing for Oakland.
A Brief History Of Mark Davis, The City of Oakland and The County of Alameda, and New Stadium Efforts.
What follows is a kind of condensed history of Mark Davis' and the City of Oakland and the County of Alameda. And to repeat, note that, in all of this time, the Oakland Raiders never once came up with a plan for a stadium in Oakland. This is a history that shows the Raiders under Mark Davis consistently trying to get Oakland and Alameda County to dance to his tune, but never playing his own version of that tune.
2011: Mark Davis floats idea of Raiders returning to Los Angeles to the LA media. During that same year, according to Oakland North “city officials announced plans to build a new stadium on the parking lot of the Coliseum—now called the O.co Coliseum—that would host the Raiders and possibly the 49ers as well. The city council authorized $4 million in redevelopment funds to pay for a stadium design and environmental impact report, one of the first steps of many toward getting a stadium built.”
2012: Mark Davis continues talk of idea of returning to Los Angeles, even as Oakland Coliseum City proposal looms.
2013: Mark Davis talks Oakland Coliseum City but gives warnings about time running out.
2014: Mark Davis talks to San Antonio Officials, and floats Las Vegas idea to NFL's Eric Grubman
2014-2015: Mark Davis gets involved in Carson NFL plan spearheaded by San Diego Chargers, works on it without the knowledge of Oakland officials until February of 2015. Davis also holds secret meetings in Las Vegas about a new stadium there and the involvement of sports gambling.
2016: Mark Davis loses LA battle to Rams Owner Stan Kronke, goes to continue talks with Las Vegas, again behind Oakland's collective back. Oakland stadium plan takes shape under Ronnie Lott. Davis gets Nevada subsidy, plots against Sheldon Adelson.
2017: NFL grants Davis “right” to move team to Las Vegas and build stadium. Sheldon Adelson bows out, sighting being double-crossed by Davis.
And 2017 was the year the whole unpaid parking revenue problem was discovered. The Coliseum JPA could have evicted the Raiders, but didn't. Now, two NFL seasons later, the Raiders want to leave Oakland early rather than trying to work out anything and stiff the Coliseum in the process.
Sure, Davis is mad Oakland's filed a lawsuit against the Raiders and the NFL. But look at the history presented and created by Mark: Stevie Wonder could see a lawsuit coming.
The Oakland Raiders Owe A Debt To The Coliseum JPA
What the Raiders are doing is, at this point, not cool, and arguably illegal. Such an action by the Raiders could trigger an injunction by the City and the County. The Coliseum JPA wants no part of the City of Oakland's lawsuit, but this issue could change that. The Coliseum JPA would have standing to sue the Raiders, and it would make the organization look worse than it already does.
It's like the Raiders are saying to Oakland “Hey, fool! You gave me two NFL Seasons, and I managed to stall you out on paying the parking revenue money I owe you because I needed a place to play. Now, you sue me because of Las Vegas, but I've got another place I can go to play until I go to Vegas, so screw you and your rent money... Again!”