Tuesday morning and afternoon the Oakland and Alameda County officials met with The Fortress Group, headed by Ronnie Lott and Rodney Peete. The reason for the meeting was to vote on a deal that precedes the City of Oakland vote later Tuesday night, to secure a land deal that would give Lott's group a chance to talk with the Raiders in hopes of keeping the team in Oakland. Much can be said about the meeting (and just as much will NOT be said), where the vote was approved 3-1-1 for the non-binding term sheet. The plan is to now proceed to the next steps where more financial details will be negotiated and settled between the city, Fortress Group and they hope the Raiders.
Earlier Tuesday morning and in the afternoon, I spoke with NFL and Raiders sources. My NFL sources told me that they are "livid with the Oakland Mayor Libby Schaff and the city of Oakland" for not listening to them as to how and get a deal done to keep the team in Oakland. "She (the mayor) wants to run point on something that she has failed at multiple times before and refuses to engage us (the NFL). She thinks she can get this done her way and I can tell you this, the team is as good as gone because of her and her stubbornness." He went on to say "All they (the city of Oakland) had to do was listen, let us help and not get in the way, but I guess that was asking too much."
When speaking with a Raiders source they said "We are focused on Las Vegas, have been focused on Las Vegas and nothing has changed on our end." Mark Davis, the Raiders owner, will be updating the other NFL owners as to the progress the team has made with Casino Mogul Sheldon Adelson on an agreement for a revenue split, as well the progress they have made to relocate to Las Vegas. The Rams and Chargers will also be meeting with the other owners as well and it is widely speculated that the Chargers will try and get an extension on negotiating with Los Angels and San Diego to try and hammer a deal out. The Raiders would officially bow out of L.A. giving the Chargers more time, which could happen at these meetings according to sources.
NFL Executive Vice President Eric Grubman was very open about the leagues stance on the Oakland/Fortress Groups proposal telling Tom Pelissaro of USA Today:
“And I dare say if you pull up the descriptions of what the agreement was with Mr. Kephart when they entered into it and then the problems that ensued, it is a carbon copy of what they’re about to enter into today and the problems that are likely to ensue,”
Grubman continued on to tell Pelissaro that the outline that the intentions of the non-binding term sheet were good, but when third parties get involved in major deals involving this much land there’s major room for concern:
“I think it’s a mistake to add third parties and fourth parties to what really should be a two-party negotiation . . . It’s an enormous roadblock in any city if you’re trying to put a deal together with a sports team and you’re outlining the basis on which the land be developed, controlled, taxed, improved, and the sports team is not in the conversation. That’s a fairly big impediment to getting a deal done,”
Grubman continued on by saying that the involvement of a third party isn't a nonstarter in getting something done in Oakland, but it doesn't help:
“It's an enormous roadblock in any city if you're trying to put a deal together with a sports team and you're outlining the basis on which the land be developed, controlled, taxed, improved, and the sports team is not in the conversation. That's a fairly big impediment to getting a deal done.”
Lastly, Grubman said that there really isn't that much progress being made by Oakland or the Fortress Group:
“I think the intentions are good..." “But I don’t think there’s been any progress that suggests a breakthrough anytime soon.”
I was told by NFL sources that "The Raiders will be allowed to apply for relocation to Las Vegas and after some tough questions, I think they'll have enough votes to relocate."
Finally, in the proposal that the Fortress Group and the city of Oakland laid out, it called for a person in the Fortress Group to own a portion of the Raiders. When I asked the Raiders about this they told me "No part of the team, at any time, isn't for sale, has been or will be for sale, to ANYONE."