Originally created 02/21/99

Davis tells Oakland mayor he wants to move team

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Oakland Raiders owner Al Davis has indicated he wants to move his team again, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

Davis recently met with Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown and told him city and county officials have not delivered sellout crowds since the team moved back to Oakland in 1995 after a dozen years in Los Angeles.

"The city would very much like to keep the team in Oakland," mayoral spokeswoman Stacey Wells said.

But she said Davis indicated to the mayor "he may simply move on," which the team believes it has the right to do.

To move, the Raiders simply must give notice within 90 days of the Super Bowl and agree to pay a $500,000 termination fee, Raiders attorney Joseph Alioto said.

Team officials did not return a message left Saturday by The Associated Press.

R.D. Hubbard, chairman of Hollywood Park, which wooed the Raiders in 1995, said he is interested in negotiating if Davis is serious.

The NFL has signaled it will award an expansion team next month, either to Los Angeles or Houston. The team would begin play in 2002.

At NFL owners' meetings earlier this week in Atlanta, NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said, "I don't see the Raiders' situation as a factor in Los Angeles. The Raiders have a long-term arrangement in Oakland, and I think our priority would be to make that work up there."

Oakland and Alameda County officials brought suit against the Raiders in 1997, accusing the Raiders of threatening to break the 16-year lease they signed in 1995 and blocking the sale of the Oakland Coliseum's naming rights.

The Raiders responded that the city and county fraudulently promised sellouts.

When the Raiders returned to Oakland, local officials said the deal posed no threat to taxpayers. Sagging ticket sales have led officials to project a $21 million bill for debt service and operating costs this year alone.


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