Prior to the scandal, the sale was proposed to lead to more affordable housing for the city of Anaheim. It would create opportunities for the community for years to come, but the practices in which that deal came together are what the FBI stepped to investigate.
However, differing opinions on which violations the stadium deal actually triggered are being argued by both parties, via Alicia Robinson of the O.C. Register:
The state Housing and Community Development Department hit Anaheim with a notice of violation of the Surplus Land Act, but the city argued unwaveringly that the law didn’t apply to the stadium deal. The state’s only recourse would have been taking the city to court.
Under a proposed bill from state Sen. Tom Umberg, that would change: if the state housing department found a violation of the law, it could force a local agency to rebid the property it was trying to sell.
The Angels have maintained their commitment to staying in Anaheim regardless if the deal was completed or not, but that hasn’t halted their approach to being open to offers from cities eager to welcome them.
With the proposed bill, they may also be required to wait longer as the city would need to put the land up for bid rather than going to exclusive negotiations with the Angels:
When Anaheim officials opted to sell the stadium, they only dealt with Angels Baseball, which has a lease that runs through 2029 (at first they were discussing a new lease before moving to negotiate a sale of the property). If Umberg’s bill were to pass, the city likely would have to put the stadium land out for bids before it could craft any new deal.
The city has argued the stadium deal was covered by another provision of state law, which allows officials to skip the bidding process when selling public property for “economic opportunity.”
Umberg’s proposal will certainly alter the course of action for the Angels and could accelerate the timeline if the bill does not pass and city officials could bypass the entire bidding process. However, the Angels don’t want to comment right now:
Anaheim spokesman Mike Lyster said Wednesday, “We are aware of the proposed legislation, but don’t have anything to share at this time.”
If the legislation does pass, the sale of Angel Stadium will remain in limbo and they would need to start from scratch and find another solution.
Long Beach made pitch to Angels
If the Angels begin to search for a new home, Long Beach is ready to welcome them after missing out on getting a deal done with them in 2019, and they already released a statement sharing their interest in bringing the Angels to their city.
“In February 2019, Long Beach began preliminary discussions on the potential for a waterfront stadium in Long Beach. Those initial discussions came to a conclusion in December 2019 when the Angels chose to enter exclusive negotiations with the City of Anaheim,” Long Beach city manager’s office said in a statement.
“The City of Long Beach has long sought to activate the 13-acre Elephant Lot parcel next to the Convention Center for a project that can bring significant community benefit, additional activation of the Downtown waterfront and benefits to the coastal region. All documents from those initial negotiations have been made public, and no negotiations have continued since those initial discussions.
“If the Angels are interested in continuing those initial discussions, Long Beach would reengage in those discussions and seek direction from the City Council.”