With the Oakland Raiders getting closer to their upcoming Las Vegas move, a group is exploring possible legal action against the team and the NFL.
Last March, the NFL approved a relocation request from the Raiders, clearing the way for the team to eventually move into a new Las Vegas stadium. That move is not expected to be completed until the stadium opens in 2020, but with the team’s time in Oakland winding down, a group says that it has been approached by law firms about the possibility of taking legal action against the Raiders and the NFL.
On Tuesday, the group We Stand With Oakland said it has been approached about a legal case that could involve challenging to keep the Raiders in Oakland, obtaining an expansion team, or asking the league to pay off remaining debt from previous renovations to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. More from the East Bay Times:
Raymond Bobbitt, who has led the group’s so-far unsuccessful efforts to stop the Raiders from leaving Oakland for a second time, said his organization has heard from multiple law firms since a judge in Missouri made a ruling in December in favor of St. Louis officials suing the Rams for relocating to Los Angeles.
Bobbitt said the court decision could help the effort to keep the Raiders in Oakland. The lawsuit by St. Louis, its county and the local stadium authority there accused the league and Rams owner, Stan Kroenke, of fraud and breach of contract for the team’s 2016 move west. The suit is moving forward after a judge denied motions by the franchise and NFL to dismiss the case.
“Now we are not just speculating, we have a court that’s measuring whether or not the constitution of the NFL is an agreement between the fans and the team,” Bobbitt said.
Officials including Mayor Libby Schaaf and the Coliseum authority board have not expressed interest in fighting the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas, which is scheduled to begin in 2020. But on Tuesday, Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, Oakland Councilman Noel Gallo and state Assemblyman Rob Bonta of Oakland stood alongside Bobbitt and Griz Jones, the founder of Make Oakland Better who is known for his tailgate parties on 66th Avenue. Bobbitt and Jones, both diehard fans, called for the East Bay to retain the Raiders’ name and colors.
The debt on the Coliseum stems from a renovation that helped bring the Raiders back from Los Angeles in the mid-1990’s, and was to be paid off using revenue from the sale of personal seat licenses. There is an estimated $83 million in outstanding debt from that project.