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Conflict Questions Cloud Report on Angels Impact

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2014 at 9:27 am •  Published: April 24, 2014
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The company that produced a favorable report on the economic impact of the Angels, which city officials have touted as they mull a controversial new lease framework for Angel Stadium, is related to another company that won the baseball team’s food and beverage concessionaire contract soon after the report’s release, records show.

Anaheim officials last year contracted with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International, LLC (CS&L), a subsidiary of New York-based Legends Hospitality Holding Company, LLC, a firm co-owned in part by the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees, to perform the study on how the Angels impact the city's economy.

CS&L's report on the study claimed the team generates more than $200 million in annual economic benefit within the city limits.

This finding played a central role in the Anaheim City Council majority’s justification for a proposal to give team owner Arte Moreno development rights to 155 acres of city-owned land surrounding the stadium with the idea being that Moreno would use revenue from the development to finance up to $150 million in stadium renovations.

“The economic impact is probably the No. 1 factor” in wanting to keep the team, Councilwoman Lucille Kring told The Orange County Register last year.

However, while this study was being conducted, Legends Hospitality, LLC -- another Legends subsidiary -- was being considered for the baseball team's food and beverage concessionaire contract. Legends Hospitality announced that it was chosen for the contract just two days after a CS&L consultant made a glowing presentation to the City Council about the team's economic benefits.

This relationship was first revealed by "Anaheimer," a Voice of OC commenter. A good government expert says it raises conflict of interest concerns.

“The question obviously is, are they being rewarded for their report?” said Bob Stern, president the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies. “And why are they having a relationship with the Angels at the same time, right after they’re supposedly doing a nonpartisan, or non-biased report about the impact?”

Stern added, “the question would be to them: What were you thinking?”

In a written statement, city spokeswoman Ruth Ruiz said city officials were not made aware of the relationship until the company made a public announcement on Sept. 26.

“Although CS&L’s final economic impact report was completed and provided to the City weeks prior to this announcement, as soon as the City became aware of the Angels selection [Convention Center, Sports and Entertainment Director] Tom Morton immediately contacted CS&L and requested a letter clarifying that the two subsidiaries (Legends Hospitality and CS&L) remain wholly independent of each other,” Ruiz wrote.

“As stated in the correspondence from Legends Chairman and CEO, Mr. David Checketts, CS&L is a stand-alone, wholly owned subsidiary of Legends which operates autonomously.”

Angels spokeswoman Marie Garvey contradicted Ruiz’s account. And public filings by the firm paint a different picture from what is presented in Legends’ Oct. 23 letter to the city.

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