Judge issues order to stop Oakland A's from buying Coliseum land from Alameda County

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- A judge has issued a temporary restraining order against the County of Alameda, prohibiting it from entering into a contract to sell its half of the Oakland Coliseum property to the Oakland A's.

"We are disappointed the temporary restraining order was granted," said A's Team President Dave Kaval after the brief court hearing in downtown Oakland. "It's obviously another complication in terms of moving ahead with the project in East Oakland."

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The A's and Alameda County supervisors had agreed on a non-binding term sheet for the county to sell its share of the coliseum land to the team for $85 million.

Judge Roesch issued the TRO in a Tuesday afternoon hearing, after the city of Oakland filed a lawsuit to stop the transaction.

"We were very surprised, really shocked," said A's Team President Dave Kaval. "We got no warning. This just came completely out of the blue. We were negotiating with the city on Friday with their lead negotiator so it's just very surprising to see this."

On Friday, Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker filed a 44-page lawsuit, asking for an injunction to block Alameda County from selling its half of the 155-acre Coliseum site to the A's. The suit cites the state's Surplus Land Act, which it says requires the county to first offer the city of Oakland a chance to buy the property before selling to a private entity.

Earlier this year, the A's unveiled a development plan for the site, which includes retail, affordable and market rate housing, recreation and entertainment spaces, among other amenities.

The project would help fund a proposed new stadium for the A's at Howard Terminal.
"Government should work with each other, not against each other," said Mayor Libby Schaaf, who told ABC7 News the lawsuit was filed without her support.

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"That would not have been my choice," Schaaf said. "I don't think the timing of this lawsuit is ideal. That was the city attorney's choice with the authorization of the city council. I hope the city council decides to suspend any further litigation."

Council president Rebecca Kaplan is offering an alternative proposal for the coliseum site, a vision she claims would better serve the needs of the surrounding community.

Regarding the lawsuit, Kaplan told ABC7 News:

"It's the right thing to do to protect the interests of the taxpayers over these public lands, and transparency, and it will protect the long-term credibility of the project."
As for the timing of the suit, right before the A's big Wildcard game against Tampa Bay, Kaval told ABC7 News:

"I just want to focus on this great team that we have, 97 wins for two years in a row, an incredible performance, and let's just get out there and win."

"Let the fans have their time now and worry about the politics later," said A's fan Henry Carrabello, who was shopping for playoff gear at the team store at the coliseum ahead of Wednesday night's crucial do-or-die game.

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