In April, at the start of the baseball season, the Angels and the city of Anaheim believed they were weeks away from finalizing a stadium deal. Now, at the end of a season in which the team and the stadium deal collapsed, Anaheim is bracing for the possibility the Angels could file two lawsuits against the city.
On Tuesday, the Anaheim City Council is scheduled to discuss behind closed doors two “potential cases” of “anticipated litigation,” according to a meeting agenda posted Thursday night.
The agenda links to a letter dated Thursday, in which Angels attorney Allan Abshez reiterated one issue with the city and raised another. The new issue: Anaheim plans to build a fire station in the Angel Stadium parking lot, which the Angels say the city has no unilateral right to do.
In August, the city council approved a contract for the fire station, in order to accommodate development in the so-called Platinum Triangle area, including the “OC Vibe” entertainment village around Honda Center.
The Angels’ stadium lease allows the city to develop a portion of the parking lot, but only for the following uses: a football stadium, a youth sports facility, hotels, shops, restaurants, offices and entertainment venues.
“A fire station is not a permitted use,” Abshez wrote.
If the city does not cancel the contract within 30 days, he wrote, the team would consider Anaheim in default of the stadium lease and could ask a court to terminate the contract.
The city believes the fire station could be constructed without taking away any parking spaces from the Angels and would benefit all parties in the area, including the Angels and their fans.
“There is a clear need for a fire station in the Platinum Triangle, which is why our council acted to move forward with this plan,” city spokesman Mike Lyster said.
In June, one month after the city killed the stadium deal amid the disclosure of a federal corruption investigation into now-former mayor Harry Sidhu, the team asked for reimbursement of $5 million in deal costs, in accordance with the terms of the deal. The city has yet to respond, Abshez wrote, and the team could sue to recover the money.
Sidhu has not been charged with a crime and, through his attorney, has denied wrongdoing. Angels owner Arte Moreno put the team up for sale last month.
The Angels’ stadium lease extends through at least 2029, and the lease automatically transfers to any new owner approved by Major League Baseball.