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Anaheim City Council unanimously votes to end Angel Stadium sale

Decision ends attempts to craft deal that would keep Angels in Anaheim long-term, though current stadium lease remains in effect through '29

The Anaheim City Council last night voted unanimously to "kill the sale of Angel Stadium and the surrounding property," in the process "bracing for what city councilmen said could be a long and nasty legal battle with Angels owner Arte Moreno," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. This comes a day after Anaheim Mayor Harry Sidhu resigned "amid an FBI investigation into the so-called 'cabal' that runs the city." In the absence of a settlement with the Angels, Council member Stephen Faessel said the termination "is going to be litigated for the next several years." He added that he "did not anticipate a window to reopen negotiations with the Angels before then." Under the terms of the sale agreement, if Anaheim kills the deal, the city could "refund the $50 million Arte Moreno already has put into escrow, plus up to $5 million in his 'transaction costs' and potential legal fees." Moreno, who "formed the management company to develop the Angel Stadium property," also could "sue the city for breach of contract." Yet Council members Jose Moreno and Avelino Valencia "all but dared Arte Moreno to take that step." With an FBI agent saying that Sidhu had "provided confidential negotiating information to the Angels in the hope of securing a million-dollar campaign contribution from them," Jose Moreno said that he would "welcome the chance to depose Sidhu and Arte Moreno under oath in the event the Angels file suit" (L.A. TIMES, 5/25).

MORE DETAILS: In California, Alicia Robinson notes the vote came after "more than two hours of public comment, none of it in favor of preserving the deal," and a discussion by council members about the city’s "potential legal liability and whether the city could prove the deal was not an 'arm’s length' transaction on the buyer’s part." The decision ends "more than two years of trying to craft a deal that would keep the Angels in Anaheim for decades to come," but it does not "mean the team will leave anytime soon." The current stadium lease "remains in effect and lasts" through '29; it includes "optional extensions" through '38. Before the vote, Anaheim residents "added Tuesday night to the chorus calling for cancellation of the Angel Stadium sale." At a "sometimes raucous meeting," council members "sat calmly as speaker after speaker criticized the stadium deal and lambasted the council" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 5/25).

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