Carson Mayor Albert Robles isn’t happy with the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders after their failed attempt to build a $1.7-billion stadium in the South Bay city.
“During the last six months or so, I bit my tongue,” Robles told The Times. “I didn’t say anything negative publicly about our partners. But now that it’s over, I want the story to be told that they never really considered us a partner in the sense of what the term ‘partner’ means.”
Last week, NFL owners voted 30-2 to approve a competing stadium project in Inglewood backed by Rams owner Stan Kroenke. The Chargers have a one-year option to move to L.A. as part of the arrangement and must decide by March 23 whether to join the Rams for the 2016 season.
“This isn’t about Carson not getting it,” Robles said. “This is about how the Chargers, Raiders … treated their partner. And maybe this is the way things are done in the NFL.”
“He treated us poorly,” Robles added. “I hope Kroenke treats him poorly is my point.”
Robles was sworn in as mayor in April, two months after the Chargers and Raiders announced the privately-financed project. Carson’s city council unanimously passed a ballot initiative that allowed the proposed stadium to skip lengthy and expensive environmental review. The city later changed the name of an unfinished street near the old landfill where the venue would be built to “Stadium Way” and erected a large banner that introduced the area as the “Future Home of Professional Football.”
Robles doesn’t believe Carson had enough input in the process, though he’s unsure if that would have changed the final outcome.
Robles said that neither Spanos nor Raiders owner Mark Davis mentioned Carson during a news conference in Houston on Jan. 12 immediately after NFL owners approved the Inglewood project. Davis, however, congratulated Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. during brief remarks.
In response to Robles’ comments, a spokesman for the project said the Chargers and Raiders “value our relationship” with Carson’s city government.
“The ultimate owners’ vote was influenced by many factors — but none of those factors had anything to do with the people of Carson or the City’s leadership,” Spanos wrote.
The Raiders didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Robles also expressed disappointment with Robert Iger, the Disney Chairman and CEO who served as non-executive chairman of the joint venture between the teams that pursued the stadium deal. Robles expected to have a substantive dialogue with Iger but said he spoke to him only once.
As part of a complex land transaction that closed in May, a joint powers authority controlled by Carson acquired the 157-acre parcel where the stadium was to have been built while a holding company jointly owned by the Chargers and Raiders took over an adjacent 11 acres.
The city now plans to pursue a commercial development on its parcel.