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Bid for Raiders Is Dead, Sacramento Mayor Says

February 24, 1990|KENNETH REICH | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The field of bidders for the Los Angeles Raiders appeared to narrow to Los Angeles and Oakland Friday when Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin said she does not expect owner Al Davis to move the team to the state capital.

Rudin said in a telephone interview that Davis had told another member of the Sacramento City Council that he would not seek an extension of the city's Feb. 28 deadline for accepting $50 million in public funds as a franchise fee for moving to the city.

While that also might leave open the possibility that Davis would announce a move by next Wednesday, Rudin suggested that it was highly unlikely and that she expects the city to be dropped from the Raiders' consideration.

Rudin said the Sacramento City Council will not vote for any extension on its own and the city's bid for the Raiders will be allowed to lapse.

This would leave two known bidders for the Raiders franchise: Oakland and Los Angeles.

"The council feels it has waited long enough for an answer from Mr. Davis," Rudin said in an interview. "He has had long enough to make a decision."

Sacramento City Council members three months ago approved the sale of bonds necessary to raise the $50 million to pay the Raiders, but set a Feb. 28 deadline for Davis to decide whether to accept the money.

Rudin said that at next Tuesday night's council meeting, one night before the deadline, the council will take up alternative uses of the money. She added that it is likely a planned 5% ticket tax will be dropped, but that a 1% hotel bed tax increase necessary to pay off the bonds will be retained.

The mayor said that the chairman of the council's sports committee, Joe Serna, the councilman most identified with the city's bid for the Raiders, had called Davis this week and been told that the Raiders owner will not ask for an extension of the deadline.

She added that private entrepreneurs who had plans to build a Sacramento stadium for the Raiders at their own expense, but had called the city's $50-million franchise fee contribution a necessity, also have informed the council that they will not ask for an extension of the city's money.

Davis could not be reached for comment.

A $660-million Oakland offer to the Raiders is expected to come up for ratification by the Oakland City Council and the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on March 12. Meanwhile, discussions continue over an offer for a $140-million rebuilding of the Los Angeles Coliseum for the team and a payment of at least $70 million in fees and guarantees to the Raiders for staying at the facility.

The latest meeting on the Los Angeles offer took place Tuesday between Raider officials, including Davis, and Ed Snider, head of Spectacor Management Group, the private managers of the Coliseum.

For the first time, sources said, Snider did not rule out the possibility that the private developers might be willing to give Davis a multimillion-dollar up-front payment to keep him in Los Angeles pending later assurance of the feasibility of the Coliseum project.

Irwindale made such an advance payment of $10 million to the Raiders in 1987, but lost the money because it proved unable to arrange financing for a proposed new stadium in that San Gabriel Valley community.

The team's current lease with the Los Angeles Coliseum expires at the end of the 1991 season.

Rudin said that while she could not rule out a possible revival later of Raider interest in coming to Sacramento, "our money will be off the table.

"We're going to decide how to use it for other projects," she said. "If they (the Raiders) were to decide to come, we would still welcome them, of course. But the money will be off the table at the end of this month.

"I don't think Sacramento has been treated unfairly by the Raiders," Rudin said. "No commitments were ever made. We saw it as an opportunity. We thought we had a one-third chance.

" . . . I know how the game is played. When you are seeking the best site for your team, you play your cards very carefully, and I think that's what Al Davis has done. So I don't think we were treated unfairly."

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