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Judge orders Anaheim to redo Angel Stadium sale records search

Fireworks are seen over Angel Stadium after a baseball game between the Los Angeles Angels and Baltimore Orioles.
Fireworks over Angel Stadium after a game against the Baltimore Orioles on July 3.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

The city of Anaheim was ordered Monday to perform a new and more thorough search of public records requested by the citizens’ group seeking to invalidate the Angel Stadium land sale.

“The evidence does not show that the search was calculated to find all relevant documents,” Orange County Superior Court Judge David Hoffer wrote in his ruling.

The People’s Homeless Task Force sued the city last year, alleging that the sale of Angel Stadium and the surrounding parking lots to a company controlled by Angels owner Arte Moreno should be voided because the city failed to comply with state public transparency laws. The city says it made all decisions about the sale legally and publicly.

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Two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani has two years remaining on his contract with the Angels, and he’s made it clear he wants to be on a winning team.

Hoffer ruled Monday that the city’s affirmations that it had searched for all relevant documents were insufficient because “they do not provide any information about how the search itself was performed or even ... how the searchers were instructed to perform it.” Hoffer ordered the parties to meet and agree on the search terms to be used in a new search.

Hoffer last year denied the city’s request to throw out the case. He has made no rulings about the merits of the case, and the parties are scheduled to discuss a trial date at a hearing next month.

The city values the sale at $320 million. Moreno’s company agreed to pay $150 million in cash, with the city providing $170 million in credits for the inclusion of 466 units of affordable housing and a seven-acre park within the 150-acre development.

The stadium land sale also remains under review by the state housing agency, which has warned the city that the deal could violate California law requiring affordable housing developers to get priority in bidding for public land. The city says the deal complies with the state law and has fulfilled several information requests from the state agency in an effort to resolve the matter.

The city of Anaheim might have another resolution for the stadium sale, but hometown lawmakers might not be on board.


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