Wolff Wants Land to Expedite MLB Decision

Oakland A’s co-owner Lew Wolff wants to get a stadium built in San Jose, and he’s ready to purchase land in an effort to force MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s hand in deciding if the team can relocate.

Earlier this year, San Jose’s redevelopment agency secured most of the land needed to accomodate a ballpark and moved it into a shell organization called the Diridon Development Authority. More parcels of land nearby were needed, but city officials made it sound as if this wouldn’t pose much of a problem.

Now, Wolff may end up buying several redevelopment parcels. On Tuesday, the City Council is meeting in closed session to discuss the sale of six properties to Wolff. The city’s deal with Wolff would only make up half of the 14 acres needed for the stadium’s construction. Negotiations for two additional parcels of land, owned by AT&T and a Los Gatos family, will still be needed.

In his column Sunday, the Chronicle’s John Shea argued the A’s should just stay put at their location in Oakland and wait for the Raiders to leave for Santa Clara or Los Angeles. That would allow the A’s to build or renovate their own baseball-only stadium to replace the decaying coliseum.

43 Comments

  1. Is the land that the was put into this “shell” organization even legal?  What about the millions of dollars in potential bond defaults?  I’m not clear how any new ballpark could be built anywhere at this time.  Moreover, I don’t buy that this whole venture will not cost taxpayers anything as Wolff has said all along.  I think this might be a big blunder if this is actually allowed to happen.  Luckily the voters will have a say in this…..I hope.  Someone educate me please if I am missing something here.

  2. ” The cities’ deal with Wolff would…”

    All the parcels are in one city—San Jose.  Therefore, you should have written:“The city’s deal with Wolff would…”

    Raiders in Santa Clara—what a frickin’ disaster that would be for Santa Clara.  If I were on the Santa Clara City Council and it looked like the NFL would mandate that the Raiders had to play there too, I’d vote to quash the entire deal.

    • The man at the hot dog stand pops off again.  Pleaase explain the disaster that will happen.  Oh, did you mean the part about 28 million return to the city if the Raiders come?

      JMOC=A republican with little mustard on his own dog.

  3. Sunshine? Open government???  Its already a done deal…..Seligs frat brother will get the land well below market value and the taxpayers will be on the financial hook for years to come.  I thought Shark city was about to declare bankruptcy???

    • Please explain in detail (and don’t lie!) how this ballpark deal will somehow cause taxpayers to be on the financial hook for years to come.  (this ought to be interesting)

      • Tony D,

        The city / RDA bought the land with bonds that have to be paid back.  if the properties don’t sell for the price to cover the bonds; we the tax payers have to pay them back.

        Duh

        • Actually the properties were purchased through the sale of other city held properties; part of the land banking strategy.  Exchanging land for land basically.  But that’s OK; you can try again Mr duh.

        • The RDA is about one thing. To borrow from the Mayor, ‘kicking the can down the road’.  They take money from the general fund. They transfer it to the ‘Ripoff Dumb Americans’ fund (usually shortened to RDA).  Then buy on huge margins. If it turns a profit they immediately spend that money like it will never end.  If it tanks, they sell it off below value, transfer more from the general fund to cover it, then accumulate massive debt from bond sales that we taxpayers are on the hook for. Then to cover that shortage, they close libraries and cut services. If the past fifteen years haven’t been enough to clue you lemmings in, dont take my word for it. Just go to sanjoseca.gov and sift through the budget memos and mid-year transfers. The Mayor is banking on the average persons laziness. So far, he has been right. Take some time to read what’s out there. In their own memorandums no less, and see how blatantly Scott Johnson and Deb Figone are misusing your tax dollars. The amounts are secondary to the percentages n ratios. No Other Major US City puts smaller percentages into vital services nor larger percentages into fluff.  No other California city over 100,000 population does either. Pensions aren’t choking our city. It’s backward ass priorities. This city has three and a half billion dollars in this years budget. They hedge that by saying Two and a half billion in the ‘operating budget’ then they ignore you if you ask them to explain further. They’ve pissed away over $900,000,000 for the airport again this year. Pensions are less than half that. Wake up people.

        • “Actually the properties were purchased through the sale of other city held properties.”

          And somehow in your mind that justifies it, Tony D?
          You’re claiming that this ballpark won’t cost the taxpayers anything yet you admit that the city sold assets- PUBLIC assets- in order to raise money to buy the land. How is that not costing us?

          There’s a parcel of land at the confluence of Guadalupe Creek and Los Alamitos Creek that the city recently sold to developers. Presumably the proceeds were used to buy the ballpark land to help out billionaire Lew Wolff. Rather than be used as public open space, this parcel will instead have 20 houses crammed onto it. That is a shame and the people of San Jose have lost something valuable.
          This ballpark won’t cost us? It’s already cost us.

          Look, Tony D. Nobody loves baseball anymore than I do. But I know from long experience how this city operates. People like you and your unquestioning support for glitzy, high profile, ego boosting civic projects, are what gives our politicians justification in their minds, to sell out to developers, to fail to pave the roads, to lay off police officers, to close libraries, and to generally blow off their obligation to provide the fundamental services for which Governments are created in the first place.

          The irony is that if more people would pay attention and hold our government accountable for the boring, mundane fundamentals, we wouldn’t have to keep pretending that we’re a big league city. We’d actually BE a big league city.

  4. Ok this is just craziness.  Let me get this straight. 

    The City loans the RDA money.(The CIty run by Mayor and City Council)
    The RDA purchases stadium land.(The RDA run by Mayor and City Council)
    The San Jose Diridon Develop, Auth is developed (Run by Mayor and City Council)
    Stadium land is transfered to SJDDA (Approved by Mayor and City Council)
    SJDDA meets to decided how much to sell stadium land for to Lew Wolff.

    The City didn’t get the money for the old city hall.  Will they get the money for this purchases? To pay back loans to the general fund? To pay for more cops?

    This is a joke!!!!

    • Don’t forget that the general fund, in addition to not being paid back the money it loaned the RDA, is now on the hook for tens of millions of RDA debt (which constitutes a signficiant portion of the alleged deficit).  Why is the SJDDA not on the hook for it and for repaying the general fund back.

      Oh wait—its even better—the loans to the RDA were interest free.  What a great investment!

  5. Save your money we do not want you, we have enough BS from our city, we rejected the Giants and the 49ners, think we want you.  We will vote you down.

    This city sucks, soon we will have more BB Players than cops and fire fighters and dedicated city workers!

    I guess the city will out source security as well.

    Chuckie get your damn priorities straight.  Are you looking for your name on the stadium?

    Lay off another 66 officers and your getting closer funding the deal which you claim will be 100% funded by the A’s?

    SJ is being flushed down the toilet as we speak

  6. I Love it ! San Jose Residents ………..RISE UP!!!! ask the hard questions,make this Morally Corrupt Mayor answer these questions that we all have.Hold the jesters Court(City Council) accountable.It is obvious that they(Mayor&Council;) are trying to do an end around, by giving Lew Wolfe the sweetest deal imaginable.No one is dumb enough to believe that this Stadium is NOT going to cost the San Jose Residents.This City is not in the toilet because of city employees or pensions, this city is in the toilet because of Mayor Reed and the Puppet Regime(council).Hes been on council for @ least 12 years……..Hes had plenty to say about the direction of this city,but like the coward that he is , refuses to own it.

  7. we need the actual citizens of san jose to put a referendum on the ballet that says wolf needs to pay what San Jose paid for the properties; not the so-called current value!

    He will get properties at a discount; not their paid for value.  Why should he get them at wholesale when the tax payers bought them at retail (or more).

    Isn’t giving away our assets for a discount an actual city subsidy?

  8. Why do I continue to come back to this conservative, 1950’s forum?  FWIW, I have yet to talk to one San Jose resident (family, friend, coworker) who’s against the PRIVATELY financed ballpark.  Anyhow, glad this forum isn’t representative of greater San Jose (imagine the horror).

        • Tony d. – You haven’t explained the private financing.  I doubt you understand what’s really happening anyway.  Your aggressive posts and unquestioning belief that no public dollars will be used have no substance.  You’d rather have your ego massaged and inferior complex erased by having an mlb team here instead of facing the economic reality of this.  The City has already spent money on this and it will get much worse thanks to Wolff and his puppet City politicians.  I’ll say it again… you’re delusional.

  9. Why Mercury Won’t Tell Baseball Stadium Facts

    1) Mercury is friends with Chuck Reed and Deb Figone and d=thinks city employees are overpaid and get too muck pensions and benefits

    2) City of San Jose and Lew Wolff buys ads and public notices from Mercury   Media News has policy to not write anything negative about advertisers

    3)Few remaining Mercury reporters and editors do not have ability, news budget or time to understand complex financial issues and do investigative journalism as we have seen since Knight Ridder sold Merc

    4) Investigative journalism costs more than reprinting wire service news and articles so Media News doesn’t do Investigative journalism

    5) Past Mercury investigative journalism articles were poorly done, had many errors, required public retractions, costly lawsuits and damages, heavily criticized by public and journalists so embarrassed thin skinned Mercury editors and management

    • WOW!  You went through an entire post criticizing The Merc and so-called “stadium facts” WITHOUT PRESENTING ONE DAMN STADIUM FACT!  So enlighten us; what are the “facts” smart guy?

  10. as stated in the Metro
    1) The fortyniners are NOT paying the bulk of Stadiums construction cost, the city will be doing that.

    2) jed York controls 2nd team sublease exclusively

    3)Much of the revenue goes back to the city of Santa Clara.WRONG! it goes to the NFL

    4)in the 1st year of Operation santa Clara gets a miserable $180.000 from the stadium

    5)Jed York gets at least $100 million in broadcast royalties and $30million in luxory box fees.

    “The massive stadium subsidy is aterrible deal for Santa Clara and its residents, and a worse deal now than it was in June”.

    *the complete article in the Metro*

    If this can happen in Santa Clara a city that is very well run, could it possibly happen here ………in this dunghole of a city.just food for thought

    • So your whole case is built against Santa Clara and then simply saying that we are more prone to be duped than they are? Why not actually look at the details of this completely separate deal? Santa Clara is obviously NOT well run, as they’ve allowed themselves to be bent over by the Yorks. San Jose, on the other hand, had the sense to require a vote if any public funds go to the construction of a stadium over 5,000 capacity.

  11. Tony D

    ” I have yet to talk to one San Jose resident (family, friend, coworker) who’s against the PRIVATELY financed ballpark ” 

    Same here, everyone wants PRIVATELY financed ballpark BUT Reed, Liccardo, Figone, McEnery baseball stadium deal is not 100% privately financed city tax money is being spent which legally Requires Baseball Stadium Vote

    When will Mayor tell public how much taxpayer money has been spent on stadium and what tax subsidies are being committed by city to Wolff behind closed doors that are not being disclosed

    If it was 100% private money there would be NO Legally REQUIRED vote approve city taxes spent on baseball stadium as required by San Jose Municipal code  

    Tony D – Explain why voters have to approve baseball stadium deal if there is no tax dollars being spent
     
    YOU CAN NOT, since there is city tax money being spent with more taxes to be spent in future for net tax loss to city  

    Council would never call for baseball stadium vote is they could legally avoid vote

    Also city’s economic studies understate public costs and grossly overstate taxes projeced to be received

    Wolff badly wants stadium and has spend millions on stadium planning, economic studies, lobbying politicians and public while promising City Hall insiders deals so he can get billions in increased baseball revenue. 

    He said on KLIV that his A’s revenue would double when he moves from old Oakland stadium to new San Jose stadium because of Silicon Valley corporate sponsors and ticket sales

    A’s value will more than double and Wollf will get 100’s millions tax subsidies from City of San Jose that public is not aware of deals Council has made with Wolff and his San Jose partners

      • Tony d. , you need to be moved to the front of the class because you just dont seem to get it. The properties that are being bought up are going to be either given or sold well below market value to Lew Wolfe,that money rightly belongs to the residents of San Jose. If Lew Wolfe was willing to pay Market Rate…….by all means bring on the A’s.Personally dont see it happening.You are getting all angry because people voice their displeasure at the way our city Government operates. What do you think this city is going to do when a big chunk of its residents leave? maybe raise taxs for the rest of us.They already do not provide the very basic needs for its residents. Morejobs,Better Public Safety & Essential services.

        • I heard Mayor Reed on KGO this morning. He was asked and admitted that the city was going to take a big loss on the 24 million spent on buying up land once they sell it to the A’s. Fiscal emergency???? Only if it jeapordizes a ballpark.

        • How in the hell is the city going to take a “big loss” on the land when Lew Wolff is going to invest nearly HALF A BILLION DOLLARS on the ballpark?  Last I checked, $500 million is greater than $24 million.  That doesn’t even take into account peripheral developments (see AT&T Park in SF) or massive sales tax revenue (see HP Pavilion) that will be attributed to the ballpark.  If taking a “loss” on the land means SJ raking in millions and creating a destination downtown, THEN BY ALL MEANS TAKE THE LOSS!  I rest my case with you “intelligent” folk (sarcasm).

        • Tony,
          It is great Mr Wolff is investing half a billion. He can invest in the entire thing if it is such a great deal, unless we are really not in the midst of an economic emergency as Mayor Reed claims.

        • Tony d. there truely is no end to your stupidity .How on Gods green earth compare San Francisco , a world class destination with this joke of a city that has illusions of “capital of silicon valley”.if this is such a great deal why dont you & lew wolfe split the total cost of this insanely stupid Stadium deal

  12. Tony D – open you eyes and your closed mind

    Read “stadium facts ” and how you, many others are being tricked by ”  Reed, Liccardo, Figone, McEnery baseball stadium deal is not 100% privately financed city tax money is being spent which legally Requires Baseball Stadium Vote ” so billionaire Lew Wollf and insiders can make more money

    ” This ballpark won’t cost us? It’s already cost us.

    “Look, Tony D. Nobody loves baseball anymore than I do. But I know from long experience how this city operates. “

    ” People like you and your unquestioning support for glitzy, high profile, ego boosting civic projects, are what gives our politicians justification in their minds, to sell out to developers, to fail to pave the roads, to lay off police officers, to close libraries, and to generally blow off their obligation to provide the fundamental services for which Governments are created in the first place.”

    “The irony is that if more people would pay attention and hold our government accountable for the boring, mundane fundamentals, we wouldn’t have to keep pretending that we’re a big league city. We’d actually BE a big league city. “

    ” San Jose, on the other hand, had the sense to require a vote if any public funds go to the construction of a stadium over 5,000 capacity.”

  13. Tony

    Seems like you are ignoring stadium facts or just don’t want to believe that you, many residents and taxpayers are being fooled again by City Hall about taxes spent on stadium, so 1% can get richer from the 99% taxes

    • I can save the city and us the tax payers a billion dollars.  Lets just buy a private taxi to take Tony D games in oakland.  The car and driver would only cost about 40k a year.  Then we can use the billion dollars to make san jose a real city!

  14. On the front page of the City’s website is a link to a resolution regarding the City’s and the RDA’s debt obligations. That document reflects all of the nonessential services the City is funding and the extraordinary debt load it has taken on for these pet projects—over $4 billion—yes a “b.” 

    But what is astounding is how much recent debt the City has taken on in this alleged era of fiscal crisis.  One of those was a March 2011 settlement with the County in which the City agreed to repay the County $26M for an RDA obligation. Had the ball park land not been squirreled away and removed from the RDA, but rather sold and used to pay this debt, the general fund deficit would be $26M less. Thus, the fact that the City is saying it will not cost the tax payers anything is BS. It already has—26M.

    This is just one example. 

    How long will it take for the City to earn $26M back from a ball park that may not even be built.

  15. Sounds like another gov’t hand out to the rich. Good thing the need for a referendum is built into this debacle. I’m sure the good, hard-working people of San Jose, will shoot this mess down. DOA.

  16. The trick of all RDA-based land deals are based upon tax base.  Y’see, you and I pay property taxes – churches and the government don’t.  The City does not pay property taxes on anything it owns – parks, libraries, even the land that the Arena is built upon. 

    That is why most large developments remain with the City holding title on the land, so the developer isn’t on the hook for thousands of dollars of property taxes.  And that may be why the RDA, which derived all of its existence upon tax increments is nearly bankrupt.

    The snake ate its own tail.
    It will be interesting how the RDA executes this sale.

  17. I want to see all the deleted and censored post from all the other topics.  I also noticed that you have removed one of the blogs about the “Hell Angels” 

    Boy you guys really don’t want to hear the truth about anything. 

    Old Frank

    • Frank,

      San Jose Inside will not be approving comments that include profanity or inappropriate language. And as far as I can tell, the Hells Angels posts are both still active.

      Thanks for reading,

      Josh