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Activist group sues over sale of Angels stadium to the team

On Behalf of | Mar 25, 2020 | Business Litigation, Commercial Real Estate |

High-profile real estate transactions often draw interest from parties outside of the buyer and seller. For instance, it may be necessary to get approval from the zoning board. Or neighbors may object for various reasons.

The latter situation could impact the completion of the sale of Angel Stadium to the Anaheim Angels. A group called the Peoples’ Homeless Task Force has sued the city of Anaheim, which owns the stadium grounds, over what the group claims was a secretive negotiation that kept the public “in the dark.”

$325 million sale to the team owner – was the public informed?

The city and the Angels announced the deal late last year. Angels owner Arte Moreno agreed to buy Angels Stadium and the surrounding parking lots for $325 million. The sale is not expected to close until as late as 2025, and could include discounts if Moreno builds affordable housing and parks on some of the property.

It appears that the voluntary option to build affordable housing is not satisfactory to the Peoples’ Homeless Task Force. The group’s lawsuit alleges that the city did not provide enough opportunities for public discussion of the sale. In fact, the lawsuit claims, before the sale was announced in December, “there had never been any public discussion of the possibility of selling the property.”

The city denies this charge, noting that the City Council announced in 2018 that it had commissioned an appraisal of the land’s value in case it decided to lease or sell it. Last August, the mayor urged the city to pursue a lease or sale of Angel Stadium. The city says it performed “extensive sharing of information with the community.”

It is likely that the fate of the lawsuit will largely hinge on whether these efforts to inform the public were legally sufficient.

Legal protection during real estate litigation

Most real estate transactions do not involve the public, but there are still multiple points at which a disagreement can turn into litigation, especially after the lease begins or the sale is final. Parties to real estate litigation need legal protection, as well as honest and seasoned advice about how to proceed.