Athletics decline lease offer from Coliseum Authority
OAKLAND -- The longstanding saga with the A's and their ballpark took another turn on Tuesday night, as the club declined a 10-year lease offer from the Oakland Coliseum Authority.
About an hour after the Authority issued a news release announcing that it had extended the offer, the A's responded with a statement of their own.
"The A's received the Oakland-Alameda County Authority's proposal earlier this afternoon. While the proposal was for 10 years, it did not address all of our issues," the statement read. "Consequently, we cannot accept the terms of the offer. We have tried to negotiate in good faith for the past several months. As the Authority knows, it is still our preference not to negotiate this agreement through the media."
A's president Michael Crowley weighed in on Wednesday, issuing a statement that further explained his club's thinking behind the proposal rejection.
"First, we owe no back rent or any other amounts. We did deduct rent payments in the past for items that we are allowed under our lease, but that was our negotiated right," Crowley said. "Second, there is absolutely nothing in either our lease offer to them or their counter proposal to us that mentions any kind of subsidy. In fact, under our final offer we would immediately invest no less than $10 million in the facility and our rent would rise from the amounts that we have paid over the last decade. We have nothing additional to offer and as a result there will be no further negotiations."
Since the current ownership group, headed by John Fisher and Lew Wolff, bought the A's in 2005, a new ballpark has been at the forefront of the franchise conversation. With Tuesday's offer, Authority chairman Nate Miley says the onus is now on the A's to stay in Oakland.
"We wanted to send a clear statement to the A's, the fans, Lew Wolff, and Major League Baseball that we want the A's at the O.co Coliseum and want to keep baseball in Oakland," Miley said in the statement.
The A's current lease expires at the end of the 2015 season, but the Coliseum, which was built in 1966 and is the only multipurpose stadium in major American pro sports, has shown plenty of wear and tear. The aging facility has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons in recent years, as the site of multiple sewage problems, flooded fields and clubhouses.