The Oakland Athletics have balked at paying the $1.2 million required under contract to use the Coliseum, the head of the stadium authority confirmed Tuesday.
Henry Gardner, the interim head of the Coliseum Authority, said the A’s informed him they had “no ability to pay” the annual rent due April 1.
“They said because they haven’t used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay,” said Gardner, who stepped in as Coliseum Authority Executive Director after Scott McKibben’s resignation in August.
“We recognize that we’ve all been upended in a number of ways,” Gardner said. “Maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can’t just say no rent.”
The A’s did not respond to a request for comment, but in a letter dated March 31, A’s general counsel D’Lorna Ellis cited “force majeure,” a clause in the contract that relieves both sides from obligation when there is an extraordinary event, such as the coronavirus outbreak.
In the letter, obtained by the East Bay Times, Ellis also noted the possibility that the Coliseum would not be available to the team. At the time, it was being evaluated as a potential “surge site” in case the Covid-19 outbreak exploded as it had in places such as New York City. Ellis said the team supported the measure but would be deferring payment “until we have a better understanding of when the Coliseum will be available for our use.”