Chase Field feud with D-backs has cost Maricopa County $450K
PHOENIX — The ongoing battle with the Arizona Diamondbacks over Chase Field in downtown Phoenix has cost Maricopa County more than $450,000 in legal fees.
County spokesman Fields Moseley said $452,649 had been spent in the case as of Sept. 15, but that sum was paid by the county’s stadium district budget.
“It comes from payments from the team and nonbaseball events, so technically, there are no taxpayer dollars being spent on this case now,” he said in an email.
However, that money was originally designated to be spent on repairs at Chase Field.
The costs incurred by the team were unknown.
The sides were ordered to arbitration in August, but could not agree on how an arbitrator should be chosen. Instead, they agreed last week to meet with a different judge to settle their differences.
Though it was possible Major League Baseball could explore a move for the team, Judge Karen Mullins ruled the team was required to fulfill its lease, which runs through 2027.
“The team is obligated under the [Facility Use Agreement] to play all games at the ballpark,” she wrote. “Allowing the team to pursue alternative options or partnerships does not preserve the status quo of that obligation.”
The Diamondbacks and Maricopa County have been at odds for more than a year over the condition of the team’s home.
Eighteen months ago, it was reported that the D-backs were considering ending their lease at Chase Field so they could find a newer, more updated ballpark. The team has called the facility home since its debut season in 1998.
According to the team, the Stadium District — which oversees the ballpark and is run by the county — had not met its obligations to fund improvements, and will not be able to pay for $185 million worth of repairs the team said needed to be done.
Owner Ken Kendrick said despite the team stating Chase Field needs repairs, there is no danger to fans and the lawsuit will not affect how the team is run.
The county fired back at the assertion that it has not lived up to its side of the lease agreement.
Hall has said last year there was zero desire to leave downtown Phoenix or Chase Field, that over the last four years their discussions have been about them absolving Maricopa County of financial responsibility in exchange for control of the building and managing the building.
“Not owning it — they would still own it, but for us to control the way the Suns do their arena downtown, and it shows that we want to stay,” he said. “And by the way, we even negotiated down to a term sheet that said we were going to play every game throughout our lease at Chase Field.
“It’s sad that we’re at this point.”
An investment company approached Maricopa County last year about purchasing Chase Field. However, that deal fell through after the potential buyers claimed the team would not discuss the idea of a sale.
The team refuted that claim.
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