The Maricopa County Stadium District filed a motion February 10, 2017 to dismiss a lawsuit by the Arizona Diamondbacks and compel arbitration to settle a dispute over maintenance costs at Chase Field.
“We believe the Diamondbacks are a great asset to the community. We will continue to do our part to ensure they are playing in downtown Phoenix, in the stadium taxpayers helped them build,” said Denny Barney, District 1, Chairman of the Maricopa County Stadium District Board of Directors.
The Maricopa County Stadium District (MCSD), a tax-levying public improvement arm of Maricopa County, owns the stadium. The Diamondbacks pay rent to play at Chase Field. The disagreement, at its core, is about how money is spent on the physical facility.
According to a contract signed by the Team and the MCSD, operation, maintenance, and repairs at the stadium are the team’s responsibility unless a repair meets a specific definition of a “capital repair.” A 2013 assessment listed Chase Field as being in “excellent” condition. The County’s procedures ensure the stadium will remain safe, functional, and compliant with all applicable standards. Reporters and the public can find all of these documents as well as legal filings at http://bit.ly/ChaseFieldDeal.
The Diamondbacks filed a lawsuit against the MCSD and its Board of Directors saying the stadium is in ‘disrepair.’ The Diamondbacks’ lawsuit asks for the Team to be let out of its contract to play at Chase Field and also asks for the Team to be released from its promise to not negotiate for a new stadium.
“They signed the contracts. And the contracts say: the Diamondbacks are the tenant, the Stadium District is the landlord, and all landlord/tenant disputes have to go to arbitration,” said Grady Gammage, one of the attorneys representing Maricopa County. “The simple fact is, they’re not allowed to sue just because they’re unhappy with their landlord.”
The contracts between the Team and the County explicitly call for this kind of dispute to be arbitrated between the parties, not resolved in an expensive court fight. Therefore, as required by the contracts, the County has moved to dismiss the Diamondbacks lawsuit and refer the complaint to arbitration.
“The County and its taxpayers made a deal with the Diamondbacks: we will build you a stadium, and you promise to play in it through the 2027 baseball season,” said Barney. “We want the team here and we expect them to keep their promise.”