The Oakland Athletics have not paid their rent to use the RingCentral Coliseum, according to the interim executive director of the stadium authority.
Henry Gardner told the Bay Area News Group on Tuesday that the team had informed the stadium authority it could not pay the $1.2 million annual rent that was due April 1, citing the coronavirus pandemic.
"They said because they haven't used it, they were not able to generate revenue and they have no ability to pay," Gardner told the newspaper. "We recognize that we've all been upended in a number of ways. Maybe there are some things we are willing to negotiate and waive, but we can't just say no rent."
According to a letter from the A's sent March 31 and obtained by the Bay Area News Group, the team cited force majeure in its contract with the stadium -- which covers extraordinary events, such as a pandemic -- as reason for not sending the rent payment. A's general counsel D'Lorna Ellis wrote that the team would defer payment "until we have a better understanding of when the Coliseum will be available for our use."
The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season has been indefinitely delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. One sign that the Athletics' stadium could become available for use came Monday, when California Gov. Gavin Newsom said that sports could resume without fans in his state as soon as the "first week or so of June."
The Athletics did not respond to a request for comment from the Bay Area News Group.