A's, Giants

San Jose lawsuit coming against Giants to facilitate A’s move?

San Jose city councilman Sam Liccardo quite understandably is getting pissed off about the handling of the A’s proposed move to San Jose.

After all, it’s been four years since Bud Selig commissioned a “Blue Ribbon Panel” to look into the move. Meanwhile, the Giants continue to further complicate the matter by refusing to concede San Jose’s territorial rights to their Bay Area cohabitants. The A’s have their sights set on the more-corporate friendly South Bay and a proposed stadium in downtown San Jose.

So, Liccardo, the enterprising and impatient fellow that he is, thinks he has the solution to solve the gridlock: litigation. Liccardo believes that suing the Giants could finally knock the process out of limbo and give it the life it’s so embarrassingly been bereft of. From the Merc’s Mark Purdy:

Liccardo’s strategy, if affirmed by his council colleagues, could be a game-changer. It would be a cunning reverse twist on the Giants’ own veiled (and nonveiled) threats to pursue legal action against San Jose and other entities if the A’s are allowed to move south.

“The concern that seems to be broadly discussed is about litigation on behalf of the San Francisco Giants,” Liccardo said the other day at his City Hall office. “But the San Francisco Giants should become concerned about the threat of a lawsuit by the city of San Jose.”

The Giants, by being a hindrance to the potential deal, Liccardo says, are holding back the development of downtown San Jose and costing the city millions.

“We have an independent economic analysis,” Liccardo said. “And it documents that the fiscal benefit of a downtown San Jose ballpark — and this is in conservative terms, with just the property taxes generated and the money that would go to public schools and to the county — exceeds $30 million over 30 years. And any antitrust suit that the city might bring could mean treble damages.”

So, put into simpler terms, if the Giants get hit with a suit by the city and lose, they could be on the hook for $90 million. Now, does all that seem worth holding the move hostage and screwing the A’s? Obviously not.

But the Giants do have a business interest at stake here, and it’s attached itself to a perhaps frivolous lawsuit by a perhaps frivolous advocacy group taking aim at the proposed stadium’s Environmental Impact Report. More from Purdy:

That lawsuit was filed on behalf of “Stand For San Jose,” an alleged “citizens group” spearheaded by the San Jose Giants minor league team.

The San Francisco Giants, of course, hold majority ownership of the San Jose Giants. And the “Stand For San Jose” group is represented by San Francisco attorney Ronald Van Buskirk, who works for the same law firm that handles the San Francisco Giants’ legal affairs. Even a Los Angeles Dodger fan would be smart enough to see the connection.

Liccardo believes that the “Stand For San Jose” lawsuit will eventually be settled in San Jose’s favor. But he is vexed by the fact that San Jose Giants’ executives are asking for improvements and other considerations at Municipal Stadium.

“There’s no small irony,” he said “in the fact that San Jose taxpayers are subsidizing the Giants with their minor league ballclub by providing below-market rent, plus maintenance costs, while the parent club is suing the city and costing the taxpayers thousands of dollars to defend the suit.”

So, there’s obviously a shitton of politics on multiple levels at play here. Meantime, the two parties who should be the most proactive—A’s owner Lew Wolff and MLB commissioner Bud Selig—have been quite the opposite. Selig continues to pick his nose while staring at the wall in his New York office. And Wolff, who’s already lobbied to have five years added to the team’s lease with the Coliseum, has kept his distance and watched his words, so as perhaps to not piss off his longtime pal Selig. We’re not ruling out Bud having some extraordinarily compromising photos of Wolff from their time as fraternity bros in college.

But Liccardo is ready to take matters in his and his city’s own hands:

“I’m happy to swing the hammer and pound the nail,” Liccardo said. “There are others, who have a bigger stake in this, that are more reluctant. The A’s ownership wants to find an amicable solution. But for the strong desire of Lew Wolff to play nice, I would be urging my colleagues to file suit right now.”

[via the Merc]

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