Los Angeles Raiders officials said Sunday the football team still intends to move to Irwindale, despite a court filing saying that its obligations to do so have “lapsed.”
John Herrera, a senior team executive who has been operating an office in the San Gabriel Valley community, said the Raiders have been working on plans to build a new stadium there for a year “and we’re continuing to move ahead with it.”
Commenting on the Sept. 29 Superior Court filing by Raiders attorney Richard Haas, Herrera declared: “All we stated was that the deal has not been completed, which is true. (But) we’ve moved ahead with the environmental report, which is virtually completed. We’ve been able to move ahead on several fronts.”
Meanwhile, a second team attorney, Jeffrey Birren, pointed out Sunday afternoon in the press box at the Coliseum, where the team continues to play, that Haas’ filing did not say the Irwindale deal is dead, or could not be completed in the future.
Other Raiders employees present for the game with the Cincinnati Bengals also discounted the notion that the Irwindale deal, first announced 14 months ago, is off.
Haas’ filing came in answer to a motion by Coliseum Commission attorneys for a summary judgment in the commission’s breach-of-contract suit against the Raiders. The suit alleges that the team violated the terms of its contract to play in the Coliseum by announcing a deal with Irwindale before that contract expired.
A hearing has been set before Superior Court Judge Dzintra Janavs on Oct. 11. But Raiders attorneys have filed a motion to disqualify Janavs for prejudice against the team.
Birren on Sunday termed the Coliseum Commission’s motions for summary judgment “ridiculous.”
Haas’ filing stated that “As Irwindale did not furnish either the promised building sites or the $115 million loan required (to build the stadium) . . . any obligations of Raiders lapsed shortly after it (a preliminary agreement) was signed.”