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Raiders' Trial Goes to Jury

August 07, 2003|From Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — The financial fate of the Oakland Raiders was handed to a jury Wednesday to decide whether the team was cheated of hundreds of millions of dollars when it was wooed back from Los Angeles.

The Raiders claim Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum officials tricked them into returning for 16 years by falsely promising a sold-out stadium.

The suit charges the Coliseum, its chief negotiator Ed DeSilva and the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm with intentionally misleading the team. The coliseum also faces charges of negligent misrepresentation and breach of good faith in negotiating.

By the end of the contract in 2010, the team said it will have lost $833 million in ticket sales and diminished franchise value by moving to Oakland in 1995. If Coliseum officials hadn't lied, the team's lawyer said it could have moved to Baltimore where it would expect to be $571 million to $809 million richer by 2010.

Defense lawyers claim the team isn't owed a cent and that no promises of a sold-out stadium were made to Raider owner Al Davis or other team officials. In the contracts Davis signed Aug. 7, 1995, there is no guarantee of sellouts.

The coliseum's lawyer also said that Davis and his co-owners made more money after returning to Oakland and that any failures at the box office were because of losses on the field.

The nine-woman, three-man jury in Sacramento County Superior Court has heard testimony from 45 witnesses over 16 weeks and will have more than 600 pieces of evidence to consider.

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