— ABC7 News (@abc7newsBayArea) June 18, 2013
More from ABC 7:
So, the city has hired Peninsula attorney Joe Cotchett to file a lawsuit. “This is all about economics. And, you have a city like San Jose, the tenth largest city in the United States, cannot get a baseball club. I can name you other cities that are pulling for San Jose for the same reason. They want the right and the chance to bring a baseball team to their city, their county, whatever it might be,” he said.
A 2009 study found that a new ballpark for the A’s could pump $130 million a year into the San Jose economy. And, San Jose’s mayor has hinted in the past that he’s considered legal action, but the city has always deferred to the principal owner of the A’s — Lew Wolff.
The City has been talking to Cotchett for a while about prepping the lawsuit. I had also heard that Cotchett may be taking this case pro bono, but I can’t confirm that at the moment. Correction: Cotchett is taking the case on a contingency basis. Cotchett has a ton of experience with antitrust suits and sports, representing the Raiders and the NFL at different times.
The Merc’s John Woolfork also has an article with a primer.
And then there’s this.
— John Lund (@JohnLundRadio) June 18, 2013
The podcast of the Cotchett interview is available here.
San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed’s office put out the lawsuit press release:
For Immediate Release:
June 18, 2013
Michelle McGurk, Office of Mayor Reed
(408) 535-4840 or (408) 655-7332 (cell)
City Council Unanimously Authorizes Lawsuit to Allow A’s to Move to San Jose
San Jose, Calif. – The City of San Jose has filed legal action in federal court to eliminate the territorial restrictions that Major League Baseball has used to keep the A’s from moving to San Jose. The complaint was authorized by the City Council during closed session this morning.
“For more than four years, the City of San Jose has made an exhaustive effort to work with Major League Baseball to resolve any concerns about our city’s capacity to host a major league ballclub,” Mayor Chuck Reed said. “During that time, it has become abundantly clear that Major League Baseball prefers to use territorial restrictions as an excuse to restrict commerce and prevent the Athletics from relocating to San Jose. This restriction is costing San Jose residents millions of dollars in new annual tax revenues that could go towards funding more police officers, firefighters, libraries, gang prevention efforts, road repairs and other critical city services.”
The Oakland Athletics ownership group has expressed a desire to construct a new privately-financed and privately-operated ballpark in Downtown San Jose. While the City of San Jose has worked with the Athletics to facilitate the construction of a new ballpark, their efforts have been stalled by the San Francisco Giants’ claim of “territorial rights” to Santa Clara County. In 2009, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig appointed a special blue ribbon committee to analyze the Athletics’ options for a new ballpark. But after four years, there still has been no decision on whether the Athletics can relocate to San Jose.
According to an independent economic analysis report conducted by Conventions Sports & Leisure International, a new major league ballpark in Downtown San Jose would generate significant benefits, including:
$5 million per year in new tax revenues to the City and other local governments;
$130 million per year in total net new economic output; and
Nearly 1000 new full and part-time jobs.
San Jose has entered into an option agreement with the Athletics Investment Group, LLC, the California limited partnership that owns and operates the Oakland A’s, to purchase property for a ballpark in Downtown San Jose. According to the suit, Major League Baseball is interfering with this contract by refusing to allow the Oakland A’s Club to locate to the City of San Jose. San Jose seeks to restore competition among and between the clubs and their partners by ending MLB’s collusive agreements. The lawsuit outlines several practices that have resulted in an unreasonable restraint on competition, in violation of federal and California law, and constitute unlawful, unfair, and/or fraudulent business practices under California law, including violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law, Tortious Interference with Contractual Advantage, and Tortious Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage, and for violation of the federal Sherman Act, and violation of California’s Cartwright Act.
The City of San Jose is being represented in this case by attorney Joseph W. Cotchett and the firm of Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy LLP. The firm is working on contingency.
Legal Action filed June 18, 2013: http://www.sanjoseca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/18492.
Economic Impact Analysis: http://www.sjredevelopment.org/ballpark/EI_Report_09022009.pdf
Ballpark archive, including renderings: http://www.sjredevelopment.org/ballpark.htm.
And now, MLB’s response:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – June 18, 2013
MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL STATEMENT
Major League Baseball Executive Vice President for Economics & League Affairs Rob Manfred issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit filed by the City of San Jose today:
“In considering the issues related to the Oakland Athletics, Major League Baseball has acted in the best interests of our fans, our communities and the league. The lawsuit is an unfounded attack on the fundamental structures of a professional sports league. It is regrettable that the city has resorted to litigation that has no basis in law or in fact.”
Additional comments from San Jose Councilmembers, who unanimously voted to approve the lawsuit:
Xavier Campos, Councilmember, District Five: “The Mayor and City Council want to send Major League Baseball a clear message that the future home for the Athletics is in San José. The new ballpark will draw more fans and generate additional revenues, and create jobs during the construction phase of the project as well as permanent jobs well into the future. It’s a win for San José and it’s a win for Major League Baseball.”
Kansen Chu, Councilmember, District Four: “I am disappointed Major League Baseball has prevented the A’s from moving to San José. Winning this lawsuit not only will provide a great economic impact for the City of San José but will also benefit Major League Baseball.”
Rose Herrera, Councilmember, District 8: “This is the right step to take on behalf of our residents to get the baseball team that we deserve.”
Ash Kalra, Councilmember, District 2: “Major League Baseball has given the city of San Jose no other option but to turn to the judicial system to have our concerns heard and this matter resolved. The lack of response from Major League Baseball has been extremely disrespectful to the efforts our city and community have made in creating an attractive environment for the Athletics, particularly since the team’s ownership agrees that San Jose, the Capital of Silicon Valley, is the ideal location for their great organization.”
Johnny Khamis, Councilmember, District 10: “I supported filing the lawsuit against Major League Baseball today because San Jose deserves economic justice.”
Sam Liccardo, Councilmember, District 3, “Our Downtown hotels, restaurants, shops, cafes, and clubs and their workers will benefit the tens of thousands of people attending each game at a Major League ballpark,” said Councilmember Sam Liccardo, who represents the Downtown. “Independent experts put the total economic impact at $130 million a year. But the wait staff and cooks at our local restaurants can tell you about the real impact professional sports have on a large-city economy. When the Sharks play, Downtown is packed with patrons. We expect an even bigger impact with baseball.”
Pierluigi Oliverio, Councilmember, District 6: “As the Councilmember representing the majority of the land where a future ballpark would be built, I support taking this action today. San Jose residents need resolution now. We have waited for four painful years, and the area surrounding the future stadium has languished due to years of indecision. In addition to Downtown, surrounding neighborhood business districts like The Alameda and West San Carlos will benefit from the economic revitalization that a major league ballpark will bring to the Diridon Station area.”
Donald Rocha, Councilmember, District 9: “Today’s legal action is hopefully the first step in a process which will bring the City, Major League Baseball, the Giants and the A’s to the table. I firmly believe that there is an opportunity for a positive outcome for all parties, and for too long we’ve all been so focused on our own best interests that we haven’t pursued that conversation.”
Further reading, if you’re interested:
- SF Chronicle editorial – San Jose cries foul over A’s
- SJ Councilman Sam Liccardo (San Jose Inside) – Why San Jose Sued Major League Baseball
- Jeff Passan (Yahoo!) – San Jose lawsuit at least provides some hope in putrid A’s situation
- Craig Calcaterra (NBC Hardball Talk) – The San Jose lawsuit against Major League Baseball should be thrown out of court
- Gwen Knapp (Sports On Earth) – Rotten In The State Of California
- Mark Purdy (Mercury News) – San Jose takes big swing at Major League Baseball
- Ray Ratto (CSN Bay Area) – Is closure coming to the San Jose saga?
- Wendy Thurm (Fangraphs) – San Jose Sues MLB To Get A’s, Charges Teams Conspire To Maintain Monopoly Power In Markets
- Nathan Donato-Weinstein (SV Business Journal) – Why the deck is stacked agaisnt San Jose in MLB lawsuit
- Jill Tucker & John Shea (Chron) – San Jose sues MLB over A’s move
- Karen Gullo (Businessweek) – Major League Baseball sued by San Jose over A’s relocation
- Background: Pumping up the antitrust threat (Newballpark.org)
- Background: Sick’s Stadium and relocation of Pilots from Seattle to Milwaukee (Wikipedia)
Commentary later tonight.