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San Diego Union-Tribune

NORBERTO SANTANA JR.

Trigger clause deadline nears for Chargers | Team, city work to delay the act

January 27, 2003

Abstract:
The Chargers have until Wednesday to use the trigger clause. However, the team has been working with the City Council to delay the trigger window from Dec. 1 to March 1.

Council members also will be asked tomorrow to decide whether they want to require the Chargers to pay any legal bills the city incurs if the delay has to be defended in court. Chargers officials have said they would not accept responsibility for the city's legal fees.

[Bruce Henderson] and [Michael Aguirre] have argued against any trigger delay, saying it gives the Chargers the advantage of using the renegotiation clause without disclosing financial figures about the team, as the lease requires.


Full Text:
Copyright SAN DIEGO UNION TRIBUNE PUBLISHING COMPANY Jan 27, 2003

Time is running out on the 60-day window the San Diego Chargers have to trigger lease renegotiations on Qualcomm Stadium or begin relocation talks.

The Chargers have until Wednesday to use the trigger clause. However, the team has been working with the City Council to delay the trigger window from Dec. 1 to March 1.

Council members voted 7-2 on Jan. 13 to support the delay, with Donna Frye and Michael Zucchet dissenting. However, they put off until tomorrow a decision on what the Chargers call a critical side agreement to delaying the renegotiation clause.

The Chargers want a provision that would force the city to begin immediate lease renegotiations if a court struck down the delay.

The council postponed action on the side agreement to get a recommendation from its Citizens' Task Force on Chargers Issues.

The task force supported the agreement but recommended the language be changed so the city is not giving up any rights to challenge the trigger by accepting the delay. The vote was 13-1, with member Bruce Henderson, a former council member, opposing.

Council members also will be asked tomorrow to decide whether they want to require the Chargers to pay any legal bills the city incurs if the delay has to be defended in court. Chargers officials have said they would not accept responsibility for the city's legal fees.

Attorney Michael Aguirre has threatened to sue the city over the delay, saying the council's Jan. 13 vote violated the state constitution.

Assistant City Attorney Les Girard has said the vote was appropriate.

Henderson and Aguirre have argued against any trigger delay, saying it gives the Chargers the advantage of using the renegotiation clause without disclosing financial figures about the team, as the lease requires.

The triggering clause allows the Chargers to reopen negotiations on their Qualcomm Stadium lease once every four years until 2020 if they meet a financial formula balancing player salaries against league-wide revenues.

Each Dec. 1, a 60-day window opens during which the team can notify the city that it intends to renegotiate. The notice would activate a 90-day period during which the two sides could agree to offset the team's expenses, and the team could begin shopping itself to other cities.

If no agreement was reached, an 18-month window would open during which the team could continue shopping itself, with the city retaining a 90-day window to match any offers.
Norberto Santana: (619) 718-5069; norberto.santana@uniontrib.com



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