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Camarillo Investors Might Buy Lodi Team

Times Staff Writer

A group of investors expects to exercise an option to purchase a Class-A baseball franchise and move it to Ventura County, a spokesman said Tuesday, even though it has not yet secured a stadium site.

The investors, who are led by Camarillo businessman Ken McMullen, have until today to buy the Lodi franchise of the California Baseball League.

“All the information we have is positive,” McMullen said. “After we talk to the city planner and City Council (today), we’ll make a decision. We’re still going on blind faith here.”

But their faith is not completely unfounded.

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The investors--former major league players McMullen and Jim Colborn and former Santa Paula mortician, Jim Biby--have formed a non-profit corporation to solicit private donations for the $750,000 needed to build a stadium. Moreover, the group also is considering two sites for the proposed multipurpose stadium--Freedom Park in Camarillo and an unspecified 20-acre donation, also located in Camarillo.

The location of the donated land has not been disclosed pending a City Council vote on a proposed zoning change. Biby said, however, that the land is part of a 158-acre agricultural preserve zoned to prohibit commercial and industrial development.

McMullen’s group will meet with Camarillo City Planning Director Tony Boden today to discuss the possibility of rezoning the property.

Dr. DeWayne Jones, a Camarillo dentist involved in the project, said the land is in the center of city and bordered by industrial developments.

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Camarillo City Councilman Mike Morgan, who has been working with McMullen and Biby, said he will “step back” from the group since it is pursuing zoning changes.

“I can’t be as active as I have been because of a potential conflict of interest,” Morgan said. “But I think they are going in the right direction now and can work things out.”


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