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The city of San Jose has been dealt another legal blow in its fading efforts to bring the A’s to the South Bay.
A Santa Clara County judge has ruled that the city violated local laws by setting aside a piece of land for the A’s to potentially build a ballpark without first putting it before voters. This news comes as the city is trying to get the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its antitrust lawsuit against Major League Baseball for allegedly blocking the city’s efforts to lure the A’s. A legal victory for San Jose at that level is considered a long shot.
The A’s have an option in place to buy five acres of land in downtown San Jose to build a ballpark should Major League Baseball ever green-light such a project. In October, the team and city agreed on a seven-year extension of that option to continue negotiating. Last month’s ruling by Judge Joseph Huber of Santa Clara County Superior Court nullifies that agreement, though the San Jose City Council voted Tuesday to appeal the decision. The judge ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Stand for San Jose, a citizens group that has ties to the Giants.
The Giants have long opposed an A’s move to San Jose because Santa Clara County is part of the Giants’ territorial rights.
San Jose officials say they believe that the ruling will have no bearing on their ability to move forward with their own antitrust lawsuit against MLB. San Jose City Attorney Rick Doyle has said that the city always planned to seek voter approval on the ballpark deal if MLB ever gave its blessing for the A’s to move to the city.