Vegas ceremony shows Raiders are moving on
The Raiders’ glam-packed groundbreaking for their $1.9 billion stadium in Las Vegas pretty much served as the funeral for Oakland’s hopes of keeping the team.
“It’s unfortunate to see, but this is the way it is,” said Justin Berton, spokesman for Mayor Libby Schaaf.
Oakland City Council President Larry Reid said Raiders owner Mark Davis has made it “completely clear” he doesn’t want to stay in the city — and “I think people ought to let the Raiders go.”
There are those who point out that the team is still months from finalizing the Las Vegas deal. But Steve Sisolak, chairman of the Clark County Commission in Nevada, told us Monday’s shovel turning wasn’t just for show.
“We are getting to work — the clock is ticking, and there is no time to waste,” he said.
Sisolak, a Democrat running for Nevada governor next year, concedes there are still thorny aspects of the deal to be worked out, including a memorandum of understanding with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, over joint use of the 65,000seat stadium.
And then there’s the House Republicans’ tax bill, which would end the tax-exempt status on state-approved bonds for the stadium, adding about $3 million a year to the financing costs.
But Sisolak says officials are “making progress” on all fronts, and that he expects the bond provision to be stripped from any tax bill that makes it through Congress.
“But even if it’s not, we have adequate financing to get the stadium built,” Sisolak said.
Meanwhile, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board all but signaled it was giving up last month when it voted not to join a fan-backed lawsuit aimed at forcing the team to relinquish the “Raiders” name and at extracting $83 million from the NFL to retire the public debt on the Coliseum’s 1990s overhaul.
Reid also appears to be backing away from his proposal for the Coliseum to give the Raiders the heave-ho when the team’s lease expires at the end of this season. The Raiders hope to negotiate an extension until the Vegas stadium is ready, which won’t be until at least the 2020 season.
In fact, Coliseum Authority executive Scott McKibben tells us the board is prepared to begin extension talks once the Raiders finalize their stadium plans and get a better handle on the construction timeline.
In the meantime, the Raiders are drawing sellout crowds at the Coliseum. Arrival: The parade of would-be Democratic 2020 presidential candidates continues, with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ducking into town Tuesday for a private, $1,000- to $10,000a-head meet and greet.
The event, at the California Street law office of Paul Hastings, was co-hosted by a long list of notables that included Giants President Larry Baer, tech investor and philanthropist Nat Simons, angel investor Chris Larson, and former PayPal executive and co-founder Max Levchin.
Cuomo already has $25 million in the bank for his 2018 re-election and little opposition. Still, making a West Coast swing is a good way to introduce himself to a network of donors for something bigger down the road.
The trip also included a big-ticket fundraiser planned Tuesday night at the Beverly Hills home of Universal Filmed Entertainment chair Jeff Shell.
A spokeswoman for Cuomo’s campaign did not respond to our call Tuesday seeking comment.
Cuomo isn’t the only prospective 2020 Democratic candidate hitting the California political ATM. Former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont was the star attraction at the California Nurses Association convention here in September. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock flew into town for a sit-down with potential backers the same month, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts was spotted twice in the Bay Area over the summer. Secured: A Virginia company best known for providing security in Iraq has won a $116.3 million contract to protect federal buildings in San Francisco and elsewhere in Northern California. Triple Canopy Inc. merged three years ago with former rival Academi, which used to be known as Blackwater. Triple Canopy was born out the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 and has since earned its stripes protecting State Department embassies and consulates in Baghdad and around the world.
Blackwater, its onetime rival, is best known for establishing a private army of former special forces soldiers during the Iraq War to provide government security. It was founded by ex-Navy SEAL Erik Prince, buddy of Breitbart News czar Steve Bannon and brother of federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Records show that Triple Canopy’s building-protection contract with the Department of Homeland Security in Northern California covers up to five years. As it turns out, Triple Canopy didn’t actually come in with the lowest bid — and that led to a formal protest by the current contractor, Paragon Systems Inc.
But a recently concluded review by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that Triple Canopy ultimately negotiated changes to its proposal that made it “a better value” than Paragon’s offer, according to a GAO spokesman.
So now there’s been a changing of the guards.
Raiders owner Mark Davis (center) breaks ground for a Las Vegas stadium with Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (left) and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.