Legal Dispute Over Chase Field Heading To Arbitration

Published: Friday, August 18, 2017 - 2:41pm
Updated: Monday, August 21, 2017 - 8:26am
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The dispute between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Maricopa County Stadium District over the future of Chase Field is headed to arbitration.

A Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday that the sides must take that approach.

The team has sued to break its lease at the 19 year-old ballpark, arguing it needs $187 million worth of repairs.

With me to talk about the ruling is attorney Grady Gammage, who represents the stadium district.

Now, we also reached out to the D-Backs. A spokesman told us nobody could talk on-air about the ruling, but did send along a few statements.

Statement from Diamondbacks Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick:
“This is a significant step in the process and one that favors our attempt to expedite a resolution to a difficult situation for our fans and our organization. We need to secure a long-term stadium solution and cannot afford to let Chase Field fall further into disrepair with no alternative stadium solution available.”

Statement from Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall:
“As we stated at the hearing in front of Judge Mullins, we are anxious to have the dispute settled as soon as possible so we are very pleased that the Judge feels the same way and we consider this a victory towards an expedited process. We look forward to proceeding with mediation and will encourage a quick resolution.”

Statement from Leo R. Beus:
“We were very pleased that the Judge, pursuant to our request, referenced Article 21.4 as the method by which the Arbitration would be conducted.  Section 21.4 states that the arbitration will commence “as soon as practicable, but in no event later than 30 days after submission of the matter to the Chairman for binding arbitration.

“If you heard the District speak, they anticipated something in the nature of two years of discovery.  The Diamondbacks cannot live with that delay and now, do not have to.

“Section also states “This deadline can be extended only with the consent of all of the parties to the dispute, or by decision of the Arbitration Panel upon a showing of emergency circumstances.

“In addition, the Court ruled that within ten days of the Court’s Order, the parties may file a motion for appointment of an arbitrator.  In order to expedite the process of appointing the arbitrator, the Court stated: 'Any such motion shall include a notation to the right of the caption requesting that the matter be expedited.'  Further, the Court declined to dismiss the State Court action but instead stayed the proceeding.  That will allow the parties to obtain State Court assistance if there is any difficulty with proceeding with the expedited arbitration process.

“Four years have passed since the County’s own assessment determined that Chase Field needed over $185 million in repairs and maintenance.  Only a fraction of these issues have been addressed because the reserve for Capital Repairs totals approximately $8 million.  Although the County represented in its annual reports that it intended to increase the Capital Repair reserves by booking Chase Field for non-baseball uses, compared with similar baseball stadiums, the County has raised unacceptably low amounts of money.

“The Diamondbacks very much look forward to an early resolution of this dispute through the arbitration process."

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