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Bid to stop A’s ballpark plan in Las Vegas strikes out

Updated May 13, 2024 - 7:29 pm

The Nevada Supreme Court on Monday rejected a teachers union effort to put public funding for the Oakland Athletics’ planned Las Vegas ballpark on November’s ballot.

The order upheld a November decision by District Judge James Todd Russell in favor of A’s lobbyists Danny Thompson and Thomas Morley in a lawsuit against the group Schools Over Stadiums. The political action committee, which was created by the Nevada State Education Association, appealed the ruling to the state’s highest court.

Bradley Schrager, attorney for Thompson and Morley, said Schools Over Stadiums could ask the court to reconsider its decision, but he said such requests are rarely granted.

A Schools Over Stadiums representative said the group would respond by trying to qualify a new petition for the 2026 ballot.

Schools Over Stadiums wanted to collect signatures to challenge Senate Bill 1, which was signed into law last year, earmarking up to $380 million in public financing for the A’s planned $1.5 billion stadium on the Strip. The petition highlighted five sections of SB1 that the group claimed violated the state constitution.

Had it prevailed, the political action committee would have had until June 26 to gather 102,362 verified signatures of registered Nevada voters who participated in the 2022 general election. Hitting that signature threshold would have brought the ballpark financing bill to a public vote in November.

Morley and Thompson argued that the petition was misleading and should have included the language of SB1 in its entirety. The high court agreed, with five of the seven justices voting to uphold Russell’s ruling that the petition did not meet the requirements of state law.

“With this guidance, Schools Over Stadiums plans to refile our petition next year and win in 2026,” the group said Monday in a statement. “Nevada voters deserve the opportunity to decide where their money goes.”

The Nevada State Education Association also backs the Strong Public Schools political action committee, which filed a lawsuit in Carson City District Court against the state of Nevada, Clark County and the Las Vegas Stadium Authority in February, claiming SB1 is unconstitutional.

Last month, the A’s filed a motion to intervene in the ongoing litigation, arguing that no party listed in the lawsuit can adequately represent the Major League Baseball team’s interests, their obligations under SB1 and their planned Las Vegas Strip ballpark.

Stadium Authority meeting

With another legal win Monday, the A’s have other business to conduct at Thursday’s Las Vegas Stadium Authority board meeting.

The A’s are scheduled to present a draft of their nonrelocation agreement, which will include the conditions of their planned 2028 move to Southern Nevada.

The agreement will guarantee the A’s will stay in Las Vegas for at least 30 years, a duration tied to the length of the pending lease agreement.

After Thursday’s meeting, the A’s still need to present drafts of their development and lease agreements. The development agreement details the A’s ballpark construction plans and how the team plans to privately finance more than $1 billion for the enclosed stadium.

The three agreements then would have to be approved by the stadium authority board.

This year, the body approved the A’s community benefits agreement, which guarantees the A’s will carry out various initiatives to benefit Southern Nevada.

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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