Lawsuit Challenges A's Downtown San Jose Stadium Deal

Land is worth $29 million; A's have agreed to pay $6.9 million.

The A's want to move to San Jose, and San Jose elected officials want the team there. But Major League Baseball apparently doesn't -- and neither does a group of citizens.

The City of San Jose "illegally" maintained a land-purchase agreement with the A's, according to a new lawsuit filed by anti-stadium citizens group Stand For San Jose, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

There's a plot of land in downtown San Jose formerly controlled by that city's Redevelopment Agency. The city made a deal with the A's to transfer the land at a below-market rate -- so below-market that it constitutes an "illegal encumbrance," according to the lawsuit.

The citizens' group filed a similar suit in 2011 challenging the validity of the land transfer, saying that the A's deal to pay $6.9 million for five acres of land that the city paid $25 million for is a bum deal, the newspaper reported.

The ballpark site is worth millions more as retail and office space, and extra land around it would need to be purchased in order for the stadium to be built, according to city consultants.

San Jose, in an effort to keep the state's hands off of the ballpark parcel, transferred the land to a holding development authority. The state ruled that move illegal, the newspaper reported.

But right now the transfer agreeement signed with the development authority stands. The lawsuit says the old agreement should not stand, the newspaper reported.

The land is now worth $22 million, far more than the $6.9 million the A's have agreed to pay for it, the lawsuit alleges.

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