SoccerCity Proposal Flagged by San Diego City Attorney - NBC 7 San Diego

SoccerCity Proposal Flagged by San Diego City Attorney

City Attorney Mara Elliot worried that taxpayers could face huge costs under the "SoccerCity" plan to develop the current Qualcomm Stadium site.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Legal Concerns Raised Over Soccer City Proposal

    San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliot has raised concerns about the soccer stadium project that the mayor has endorsed. Elliot is worried that taxpayers may need to pay huge costs for the current development plan. NBC 7’s Gene Cubbison reports. (Published Wednesday, May 24, 2017)

    The place where the Chargers used to play is looking like a legal minefield to San Diego's City Attorney Mara Elliott.

    She's worried that taxpayers could face huge costs under the "SoccerCity" plan to develop the current Qualcomm Stadium site.

    After working through the 3,200 pages of the project's initiative, Elliott has raised 27 pages worth of red flags about SoccerCity issues.They'll need resolving -- if voters approve the measure -- by way of lease bargaining with Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

    To Elliott, the initiative lacks key guarantees and clarity.

    She says it presents, "uncertainties … novel and untested issues" that could wind up in lawsuits that burden the taxpayers.

    SoccerCity's private investors are offering a number of concessions, in terms of money and protections for the city.

    They told NBC 7 they'll publish the lease before the initiative goes to the ballot to show that Elliott's concerns have been resolved to her satisfaction.

    The initiative has powerful backers, including Faulconer, along with voter-approval survey numbers in the 60-plus percent range.

    While it will only require a simple majority for passage, there's well-financed opposition from other developers.

    “This is going to have an array and a diversity of opponents unlike anything I’ve ever seen on this scale,” said Voice of San Diego editor Scott Lewis, who’s extensively covered the proposal.

    Next month, the City Council will decide whether to put the initiative on a November special election ballot -- or the November 2018 general election ballot.

    Lewis foresees this kind of scenario playing out: "The soccer guys will say 'Look, our window to getting a team in San Diego is closing. And so you don't want to play that game, fine. But that window is real.’ If that window is not real, that would be significant."

    San Diego State University (SDSU) has backed out of involvement with the project.

    “Very problematic,” is how Fred Pierce, a past SDSU alumni association president, describes the initiative.

    As he told NBC 7 in a Wednesday interview: “If it in fact passes, the issues that the city attorney raises will tie up the initiative in court for an unquantifiable length of time.”

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