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Team Releases Excerpts of Deposition

June 23, 2005|Bill Shaikin | Times Staff Writer

In an effort to emphasize what they say is the hypocrisy of the city of Anaheim, the Angels on Wednesday released excerpts of Mayor Curt Pringle's deposition in the city's lawsuit against the team.

In the excerpts, Angel attorney George Stephan challenges Pringle on his statement that Anaheim is "firmly in the center of the Los Angeles market." The Angels say that supports the addition of Los Angeles to their name, particularly at a time Pringle and other city officials work to lure an NFL team to Anaheim. The city has not ruled out allowing such a team to play under a Los Angeles name, at a site adjacent to Angel Stadium.

"Los Angeles could theoretically be accepted for one franchise and certainly isn't accepted for another franchise in the same parking lot," Angel spokesman Tim Mead said. "We're told it's the agreement in the lease, but that flies in the face of their deeper argument, which is the attention to the city."

The city alleges the team's new name -- the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim -- violates a clause requiring the name to "include the name Anaheim therein." By reducing Anaheim to what city lawyers call a "useless appendage," the city says the Angels have effectively dropped the city name from scores and standings across the nation and devalued Anaheim's $20-million contribution toward stadium renovations.

Pringle did not return a message seeking comment. He has said the NFL can negotiate for a Los Angeles name if it wishes.

"With the Angels, we've got a contract," city co-counsel Mike Rubin said. "They've chosen to dishonor the contract."

City officials were furious at the Angels for releasing the excerpts, a decision Rubin called "unusual."

"To voluntarily send a portion of a deposition transcript is not part of a normal legal strategy," said Sheldon Eisenberg of the Santa Monica law firm Bryan Cave. "It's a public relations strategy."

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