Posted May 23, 2016
Matier and Ross San Francisco Chronical
A group of predominantly African American investors led by NFL Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott and retired quarterback Rodney Peete is making a bid to help build the Raiders a new stadium in Oakland.
In recent weeks, ex-49er Lott and Peete, both of whom played briefly for the Raiders, have met with team executives and Oakland officials to brief them on their proposal to be master developers of the 120-acre Coliseum site.
One key member of the team is Atlanta developer Egbert Perry, chairman of the board of Fannie Mae. He’s also CEO of the real estate and investment firm Integral, which is among the largest African American-owned businesses in the U.S.
Others joining the effort include Seth Hamalian, founder of the Mission Bay Development Group, and Walnut Creek sports agent Bill Duffy, whose client list includes Warriors players Klay Thompson and Festus Ezeli.
There was no immediate indication of just how much money the group, backed by a hedge fund, is willing to put into the deal — but we’re told that, in return, its members would like a minority share of ownership in the Raiders. The NFL remains the only major sport in the U.S. without African American ownership.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told us Friday that she had met with the group some time ago, but wanted the city to work directly with the Raiders when it comes to plans for the Coliseum’s development.
“I will not meet with any developer for this project unless they are brought to me by the Raiders, and I have asked the City Council to do the same,” she said.
Neither Lott nor other members of his team returned our calls seeking comment.
More meetings are expected this week with members of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, which also would have to sign on to any deal.
How real the play is remains to be seen, but time may be running short for Oakland to come up with a viable stadium plan.
The Raiders and the National Football League have been at loggerheads with Oakland and Alameda County for years over their refusal to commit public dollars to building a new stadium.
Raiders owner Mark Davis recently threw his support behind a plan by casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, in partnership with California billionaireEd Roski’s Majestic Realty, to build a stadium and convention center in Las Vegas — with the help of $750 million in tourism taxes.
“If (Davis) could get a deal done in Oakland, he would probably prefer it,’’ one football source said after the talks, who declined to speak for the record. “But there is nothing coming forward, and it looks like such an ominous task.”
Bottom line, said another source wired into the discussions: “If there is no deal by September (to keep the Raiders in Oakland), there will probably be a deal with the NFL to allow the team to relocate to Las Vegas.”
Coal war: With a showdown vote expected next month, developer Phil Tagami and backers of Oakland’s new bulk cargo terminal are intensifying their campaign to keep the City Council from blocking coal shipments from the waterfront.
Project loyalists have called a news conference for Monday at which they plan to highlight the thousands of jobs they say will be lost if the council hits the brakes on coal.
“It’s the tech, the marijuana or the port in terms of jobs, and we want to make sure Oakland delivers on its promises of jobs and equity for everyone to live here,” said Ron Muhammad, a West Oakland community organizer.
To underscore the point, a coalition of black ministers, community activists and construction trade representatives plans to attend the news conference at the terminal site on the old Oakland Army Base, where construction already has begun.
Tagami’s forces even plan to trot out at least one doctor to make the case that nearby residents’ health is more endangered by unemployment than any concerns about coal dust.
Mayor Libby Schaaf and council members initially trumpeted the Army base project, pledging $242 million in taxpayer money to kick-start it. But now they’re under pressure from the Sierra Club and other environmental activists worried about not just the health hazards to local residents but also the climate impacts of burning coal globally.
The council is now pondering regulations that could restrict coal from being shipped through the terminal. A vote is tentatively scheduled for June 27.
Tagami has warned that blocking coal could sink the entire project. He’s also hinted at possible lawsuits to recover the money invested in the project.
The fight highlights the growing rift that has been emerging nationwide between agenda-driven environmental activists and jobs-focused construction trades — traditionally two of the most loyal Democratic constituencies.
For her part, Schaaf, who opposes the coal shipments, said she’s “committed to adopting the strongest health and safety protections allowed by the law for the bulk terminal.”
“It’s a false choice to say that we can’t do both.”
Greeting party: Chinatown power broker Rose Pak is due back Monday after her months-long sojourn to China for a new kidney — and judging from the reception being planned, she’ll be welcomed home like a conquering hero.
More than 100 friends and supporters are chartering a bus convoy to take them from Chinatown to the airport to greet Pak. Then everyone will head back to the Far East Cafe on Grant Avenue for lunch and a lion dance.
Last year, Mayor Ed Lee had a bit of a falling-out with Pak after she supported Aaron Peskin in District Three over his hand-picked supervisor for the seat, Julie Christensen. But the two have since patched things up, and the mayor even stopped by to visit her in April during a visit to Asia.
San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call (415) 777-8815, or email email@example.com. Twitter: matierandross