During the 2017 NBA championship celebration, Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob promised to pick up the parade tab for the city of Oakland, which was just weeks from slashing funding for homeless services, emergency responders and other government agencies amid financial concerns.
Two days later, a team spokesman told the East Bay Times the Warriors pledged $4 million to the city.
There was no written contract between the Warriors and Oakland, but Lacob made it clear the team intended to pay the full bill during his address to the estimated 1 million fans on hand at the parade:
“We recognize that times are hard and this city in particular has had its share of issues over the years, and it has its share of needs,” Lacob told the Oakland crowd at the end of his speech on June 15. “There’s a lot of fundamental needs, police, schools and everything like that. We’d just like to say that this parade, this whole day, all the cost, every dollar is on us. It’s our gift to the city of Oakland.”
To their credit, the team still intends to foot the bill, and Oakland spokeswoman Karen Boyd told The Mercury News, “The Warriors have given us no reason to doubt they will honor their commitments,” but at issue are several line items the city included that seem to have taken the team by surprise.
Specifically, Oakland billed the Warriors for this year’s parade at a price tag of $815,896, nearly three times its originally estimate of $300,000, and then added another $244,278 in costs for the team’s 2015 title parade, the reports said. Labor costs alone for the 588 police officers present at the parade came to $313,372, roughly $533 per officer. Not to mention another $1,540 spent on water for the officers.
Lacob made no promises to foot the 2015 parade this past June, and in fact Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder told The Mercury News, “We agreed to share the costs of the parade in 2015 and lived up to that agreement and more.” The city claims to have no record of the team sharing costs for the parade two years ago, which should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with local government.
Meanwhile, Oakland officials maintain that costs from this year’s parade increased dramatically due to increased concerns about public safety following a series of terrorist attacks on crowds globally.
“We acknowledge that the invoice we ultimately presented to the Warriors is nearly triple our pre-event estimate,” Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf told The Mercury News in an email. “We also acknowledge it includes standard labor costs the city would have incurred had there not been a parade that day, along with overtime and equipment rental costs. The Warriors have given us no reason to doubt they will honor their commitments.”
Given that Oakland surprised the Warriors by adding almost $250,000 from 2015 and the mayor’s concession that the bill included costs the city would have incurred even without a parade, it’s no wonder the Warriors are still trying to figure out the final tab. That said, the bill was a quarter of the $4 million that the team pledged to pay in June, so it seems silly to haggle over a few line items.
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Warriors and Oakland have butted heads over finances.
The Warriors will leave for San Francisco when their new arena is finished in 2019, and Oakland will be on the hook for the $50 million left from a $121 million facelift on publicly owned Oracle Arena in 1997. The Warriors reportedly paid $7.5 million annually towards that bill on a lease that ran through 2017, but the team has insisted their commitment to those bond payments ended with that agreement.
However, the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Authority believes quite the opposite. “They will likely have a different view of that,” Coliseum Authority executive director Scott McKibben told the San Francisco Business Times in March, “but our view is that they will continue to pay on the debt while they are here and whatever the balance is at the exit, the balance is their responsibility.”
Past reports have indicated the Warriors and Oakland could be headed for court over the matter.
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