Noel Gallo, the Oakland District Five Councilmember, took time to talk with Zennie62Media Vlogger Chuck Johnson before the start of Friday's Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Joint Powers Authority Board Meeting to vote on the Oakland Raiders Lease Extension.
Councilmember Gallo, of the two Oakland City Councilmembers who have advocated to try and legally keep the Raiders name and colors in the ownership of Oakland entities, did not mince words in talking about his displeasure with the Raiders actions leading up to the Las Vegas Relocation. "I support a year lease, a two year lease, but no further down the line. The reality is, I represent the public they (The Raiders) need to own up to their investment, as well as to what they owe the citizens."
In the video interview, Gallo says "I'm a Raiders Fan from beginning to end, and I would love to see the Raiders stay in Oakland, but I'm not going to sit by and be taken advantage of by the management." Gallo added that Oakland has been "taken advantage of too many times, for too long. And the NFL, the National Football League, and some of the other professional sports, are responsible, accountable, for that action (of being taken advantage of). It's sad to see that happen, but at the end of the day, we want to see the Raiders and the other professional teams stay in Oakland, but they have to honor their commitment to the citizens of Oakland, and that's the bottom line."
When Chuck Johnson observed that the new ownership didn't, to him, seem to have the same commitment to Oakland, Gallo agreed, saying "When you look back, to when they came back from LA to the City of Oakland, did they (The Oakland Raiders) ever give back that $50 million loan that the city gave them, including some of the people sitting here (at the Coliseum JPA Meeting). Nobody can tell you that. What happened to the loan? It's a loan, you supposed to pay it back - what happened to the $50 million?" Gallo then said that the NFL and the Raiders are in Oakland to make money, but that it should be (considered) an honor to be in Oakland, and your fan base, and your city supporting you. But you gotta pay your loan, and pay your fees and honor the public. That's the bottom line."
Noel Gallo's Favorite Oakland Raider
Asked who his favorite Oakland Raider is, Gallo said "I have many favorite Raiders, but I guess Willie Brown. He was available. He would come to our schools, our neighborhoods." Gallo praised Willie Brown for talking to young Oaklanders and telling them there were opportunities beyond the streets. He said Willie Brown made a great impression on him and his family members.
On The $50 million Loan: It's $64 Million And Now Over $200 Million
A moment to correct Oakland Councilmember Gallo on his remarks related to the "$50 million loan." It was actually a $64 million loan that the California Supreme Court later called a payment that should have been shared with the rest of the teams in the NFL. But the idea the City of Oakland and County of Alameda had and agreed to with the Raiders was to give them $64 million. It was called at the time a "non-recourse loan" - even though it doesn't fit the true definition of such, because the City and County already owned the Coliseum.
The problem has been recorded by Coliseum JPA financial advisors and is on page 16 of the most recent finance report from 2016. It states that the "loan" has ballooned in value from its original value to about $180 then, and projecting to 2036, over $220 million. The financial advisors wrote, at the time that the Coliseum JPA did not, and had not, come up with a way to collect on that loan. The problem is they didn't talk to this blogger.
This blogger served as Economic Advisor to Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris from 1995 to 1999, and in 1996, was part of a group of City political aides who met with Oakland Assistant City Manager Ezra Rapport. Rapport was the architect of the Raiders Deal to bring the team back to Oakland, including financing what's now called The East Side Club and "Mount Davis". I asked Rapport about the loan and what the payback is. Ezra said "the payback is in the Raiders playing at the Coliseum and paying rent and generating revenue from game operations."
It must be noted that the Coliseum JPA has paid the Raiders' game day expenses annually since the team returned from LA. That was $9 million in 2018 - if that's used as present value, then multiplied times 23 years, that comes to $207 million.
So, the Raiders arguably owe on the loan, the game day expenses, and the non-paid part of the revenue bond issue of $220 million and interest - what's remaining to be paid is $83 million. But a court might say the Raiders owe $600 million, then apply treble damages, thus owing $1.8 billion.