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Raiders lease talks near resolve after gain on ‘significant’ issue

Updated March 6, 2019 - 7:00 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — An issue that stood to jeopardize the Raiders’ lease agreement for a final season in Oakland appeared close to being resolved, progress that could result in a Coliseum Authority vote next Friday.

One person involved in discussions was optimistic that Wednesday’s turn of events will lead to a completed deal. While acknowledging that lawyer review is required before a resolution is fully reached, the person said of the contract stumbling block, “It’s been worked out. We’ll finally have our vote.”

A second person cautioned that no vote is quite ready yet. Clarity is expected by Friday.

Scott McKibben, executive director of the Coliseum Authority, met with the committee’s city and county representatives Wednesday morning in a closed session. There, he detailed a snag that arose in lease talks with the Raiders. Two sources familiar with the negotiations indicated this financial hurdle involved the team’s facility in Alameda, but McKibben declined to provide specifics when he met with reporters afterward.

Still, he stressed the importance of the matter.

McKibben characterized the problem as “rather significant,” something that “could very likely put us in a position where there’s not a deal” if left unresolved. The issue was fairly new, something the Raiders raised last Friday, he added.

A team spokesman did not return request for comment.

Meaningful conversations transpired between McKibben and the Raiders in the ensuing hours.

“On the business terms of this deal, we’re 95 percent there,” McKibben said following the Coliseum Authority meeting. “But there is this one big issue that we need to get worked out … I’m hoping we’ll have an answer today or tomorrow about how they feel about this open issue.”

Under the pending lease agreement, the Raiders will pay $7.5 million to rent the Coliseum in 2019 and carry a $10.5 million option to use the facility in 2020 should construction on a $1.8 billion stadium project in Las Vegas be delayed. The deal also would include a resolution to a parking dispute between the sides, along with other parameters.

That rent figure for 2019 might experience an adjustment. The Raiders have explored holding a home exhibition outside of Oakland this August. Should they do so, the $7.5 million figure will undergo a “slight reduction,” McKibben said.

The Coliseum Authority convenes on the third Friday of every month.

This week, a special meeting was arranged for Wednesday at 9 a.m. to discuss the Raiders lease. Next Friday’s meeting would fall into the eight-chair committee’s normal schedule. Should a vote be held as both sides desire, it will come in a public session.

More Raiders: Follow at reviewjournal.com/Raiders and @NFLinVegas on Twitter.

Contact reporter Michael Gehlken at mgehlken@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GehlkenNFL on Twitter.

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