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City of Anaheim defends process of Angel Stadium land sale

Lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the Angel Stadium land sale alleges decision to sell the land should have been made publiclyGETTY IMAGES

The city of Anaheim issued a statement earlier this month"denying any wrongdoing" in the Angel Stadium land sale, adding this "curious sentence: 'Some simply don't want to see a stadium agreement go forward,'" according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. In September '19, the City Council decided to sell the land to a company controlled by Angels Owner Arte Moreno. The council made the decision "behind closed doors, using a state law that allowed a city to keep discussions of 'price and terms' in a negotiation private." Yet, according to a city timeline, the city "did not formally negotiate with Moreno's company until November 2019." The decision to sell the land thus "should have been made publicly, a citizens' group alleges in a lawsuit that seeks to invalidate the sale." The city's formal legal response is "due this week, with a trial set next month." City Councilman Trevor O'Neil "declined to say who might want a stadium agreement to fail, or why, but he strongly defended the sale, which would allow Moreno's company to build a neighborhood and entertainment district upon the sea of parking lots that currently surround the stadium." The state housing agency has "warned the city that the deal is illegal because it violates a law intended to give affordable housing developers priority in buying public land; the city has until Feb. 6 to resolve the matter." The possibility that the deal could be derailed has "reopened debate about whether the city got fair market value for the 150-acre property without soliciting bids" (L.A. TIMES, 1/25).

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