Dave Kaval speaks for 1st time since A’s Las Vegas deal

Dave Kaval hasn’t made a peep since the A’s made an agreement to relocate to Las Vegas in April. But when an old foe, Schnitzer Steel, went up in flames on Wednesday night, the A’s team president lit up his social media feed with a flurry of posts using Schnitzer’s moment to deflect some blame off his organization and owner John Fisher.

For Kaval, the Schnitzer fire sparked an opportunity to blame the City of Oakland for not backing the team’s counter-lawsuits against Schnitzer — which filed lawsuits against the A’s during their Howard Terminal proceedings. He also said the city failed to hold up its end of the now-dead Howard Terminal project.

He sides with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s statement that the A’s and Oakland never had a ballpark deal in place, a claim that prompted Oakland mayor Sheng Thao to travel to the All-Star Game in Seattle and hand-deliver documents to the contrary — that Oakland and the A’s were only a few hurdles away from a binding economic deal. Kaval said Thao’s claim was false, saying a Howard Terminal ballpark opening wouldn’t have been feasible until the 2030s even with a binding agreement.

“The city was never able to come up with the funding to honor that agreement. Period. The city council passed the (non-binding) agreement in 2021,” he said in a phone conversation with this news organization. “They were never able to honor that commitment. On top of that, we had all these opponents, with Schnitzer pushing everything out into the next decade.”

Through a spokesperson, Mayor Thao responded to the claim, saying that Schnitzer was “not a deal point in the negotiations. Period.” And that their backing wouldn’t have helped move things along:

“The City’s participation would not have improved the A’s chances in the litigation, and certainly had nothing to do with the fire at the facility. To suggest otherwise is misleading and irresponsible.”

The A’s and Oakland have been playing the blame game for decades on the new ballpark front. But amid this finger-pointing crossfire that’s become the norm came answers for why the A’s bolted so suddenly, abandoning loyal fans and one of the biggest media markets in the country.

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