I smell a lawsuit.
Wednesday the owner of the Great America amusement park, located near the planned site for the Niners' new stadium, wrote a letter to Santa Clara city officials demanding answers.
The letter from Cedar Fair Entertainment Co. CEO Richard Kinzel to the city manager said the Ohio company wants more access to information about the stadium deal within the coming weeks. The city is slated to release a report about the environmental impact of the proposed $937 million stadium Thursday.
"Cedar Fair must protect Great Americaand our substantial investment in that park and we will do that," said a portion of the letter printed in the San Jose Mercury News. "Cedar Fair will also devote the time and resources necessary to thoroughly pursue good faith negotiations with the city and the 49ers in an attempt to resolve the difficulties presented by the stadium proposal in an attempt to avoid the need for a more formal defense of our legal rights."
The city would do well to pay attention to Kinzel's interests, no matter how demanding officials may think he is being. One influential business owner with a handful of lawyers at his disposal can spell disaster for a project that has been controversial since Day One.
Great America's primary concerns are the potential traffic and parking problems a nearby stadium could create for the theme park. Meanwhile Cedar Fair has been negotiatingwith the Niners to sell the park to the team. If this turns into litigation, I imagine a lawsuit could claim the city is withholding information vital to the attraction's ability to conduct its business.
A legal battle -- before public funding for the stadium has even been approved by voters, mind you -- is the last thing city officials need to get bogged down in. But is Kinzel's threat the right move to make right now? Sure, he's trying to protect his own interests but he's also coming across as picking a fight.
I don't know how worthwhile that battle would be when he's trying to sell his property to a team on one hand then waving a lawsuit infront of the team's ally with his other hand. It's like trying to date the sister of someone you pick on at the lockers after school.
Does Kinzel have a legitimate point here? Or does he just need to shut up if he wants to sell his property? Wouldn't spending money on a legal battle potentially outweigh his financial concerns about the stadium's impact?