Both Los Angeles and Oakland Coliseum officials reported steps Tuesday designed to win the Los Angeles Raiders as long-term football tenants, but both parties also expressed some legal concerns about dealing with the Raiders and their owner, Al Davis.
Tony Tavaras, president of Spectacor Management Group, a member of the private partnership that is managing the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where the Raiders now play, said he hopes to present Davis with a deal for renovating or reconstructing the Coliseum in a month.
Tavaras said the value of work to be proposed for the 66-year-old facility will depend on how long a lease Davis is willing to sign for the period after 1991 when his contract comes up for renewal.
But he revealed that on the advice of the Coliseum Commission's attorneys, Marshall Grossman and Frank Kaplan, Coliseum representatives first want the Raiders to sign a waiver guaranteeing that what is said in the talks will not be used by either side in the Coliseum Commission's pending $57-million breach of contract suit against the Raiders.
"We really are precluded from talking to the Raiders until a waiver is signed by the Raiders saying that any of these talks cannot be used," Tavaras said. "As soon as that is worked out, I'm ready, willing and able to come up with a plan."
Coliseum representatives envision that as part of any deal with the Raiders, the lawsuit would be settled.
Meanwhile, the chairman of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, George Vukasin, disclosed that he had a "friendly and cordial and businesslike" telephone conversation with Davis on Monday in which he had concluded that Oakland ought to "refine our proposal" for Davis moving the Raiders back to the East Bay.
Vukasin said that he had contacted Davis after reading in a newspaper that the Raiders owner wanted to hear from Oakland with an offer in 10 days, and that Davis had returned his call.
But the Oakland Coliseum chairman said his lawyers are concerned about legal problems that Oakland might have if it turns out that the Raiders have a contract to play in Irwindale, the San Gabriel Valley city that has been struggling to keep alive its deal with the Raiders for construction of a new stadium.
"I told him that if the Raiders no longer had a contract with Irwindale and were looking for other opportunities, I'd like very much to present him with a proposal," Vukasin said.
Davis did not say whether he had a contract or not, Vukasin reported.
Nonetheless, he said, there will be further contacts between Oakland and the Raiders by the end of next week.
A Raiders spokeswoman had no comment Tuesday on the Los Angeles and Oakland statements.
But Xavier Hermosillo, spokesman for Irwindale, reiterated that Irwindale continues to work on a financing package for building the new stadium there.
Asked if Irwindale considers itself to have a contract that could preclude Davis from talking with others, Hermosillo responded: "A contract? That's a legal issue, and I'm not going to get into it."