Agency that oversees Coliseum says A’s haven’t paid rent

Paola Ditto
Mag 23, 2020

The COVID-19 shutdown has created a rent crisis in the United States, prompting some to call for canceling rent as laid-off and furloughed workers see their income cut off.

The head of the agency that oversees the Oakland Coliseum says the A's have informed him they had "no ability to pay" the annual $1.2 million rent on the facility.

The Oakland Athletics have not paid their rent to use the RingCentral Coliseum, according to the interim executive director of the stadium authority.

The reason why depends on whom you asked.

"They said because they haven't used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay", Gardner told Bay Area News Group's David DeBolt on Tuesday.

"We recognize that we've all been upended in a number of ways ... maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can't just say no rent", Garden said.

A team spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report said the A's attorney, D'Lorna Ellis, sent a letter to the authority citing the "force majeure" clause in the contract that could absolve it of its payments in the event of a catastrophe.

The A's "recently learned that the Coliseum Complex is being evaluated as a potential surge site to accommodate individuals impacted by the virus, and we support its use for that goal if needed", the letter reads, according to the Mercury News. Major League Baseball and the MLBPA are negotiating how and if to return amid the COVID-19 crisis. Ellis told Gardner the team is deferring payment "until we have a better understanding of when the Coliseum will be available for our use".

The Coliseum is co-owned by the city of Oakland and Alameda County. The A's said in a statement to NBC Sports California that the City of Oakland Alameda County have kept the Coliseum available as a potential surge location for COVID-19 patients.

"It's just an excuse to try to not pay when the city needs the money the most", said the former Oakland councilman. And yes, the A's aren't getting their usual revenues right now, and yes, it's far from clear that they'll actually play baseball games at the Coliseum this year.

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