Oakland Coliseum Exec May Have Broken Law In Naming-Rights Deal
A former Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority exec committed a "possible violation of state conflict-of-interest law" when he "sought a $50,000 'finders fee' from RingCentral for helping the company negotiate a stadium naming rights deal with the public agency," according to David DeBolt of the San Jose MERCURY NEWS. Scott McKibben, who served as OACCA Exec Dir, "billed the company for the $50,000 consultant fee" as part of the three-year, $3M deal to rename the Coliseum after the California-based cloud communications firm. McKibben "resigned Aug. 9, a day after the board held a closed-door meeting to discuss the matter." Three invoices were "sent via email" to RingCentral. The "first two, sent June 17 and June 20," were on OACCA letterhead and "signed by McKibben." A third, "emailed five days later and also signed by McKibben, only listed his name and home address." That invoice said that he helped in "leading contract negotiations, and that he 'worked closely with Coliseum Authority Board to secure final unanimous approval of a 3-year contract for the Naming Rights.'" State law "prohibits public employees from having financial interests in contracts they negotiate on behalf of taxpayers." Government ethics expert Michael Martello said that the joint powers agency "would be wise to void the contract with RingCentral." If it "doesn’t, prosecutors or a public citizen could sue to undo a deal that was apparently entered into illegally." Although the OACCA board "approved the deal in May," MLB's approval is "pending" (San Jose MERCURY NEWS, 8/21).