NFL’s Concern Over Coliseum City Also Centers On Dubai Investor

Rashid Al Malik

COLISEUM CITY | A report in the San Francisco Chronicle Wednesday says National Football League officials “rolled their eyes” when asked about the proposed Coliseum City development. However, sources who attended the meeting last month between Coliseum Authority officials, the Raiders and the NFL told The Citizen the real target of their ambivalence is directed at one of the project’s newest investors, Rashid Al Malik, a wealthy financier from Dubai.

It seems the appearance of investors from the oil-soaked emirates is something of a running joke among NFL executives. Any time a NFL stadium project arises or a team is up for sale, they appear. Apparently the attention derived from the NFL appeals to the vanity of some of the excruciatingly wealthy in Dubai who crave high-profile projects tied to popular western culture.

Despite the potential for Al Malik being another of these attention-seekers, the comment by the NFL official did not discount that his interest and potential to help fund the large-scale project is anything but legitimate, just that they often fail to pan out.

It should also be noted during an Oakland City Council committee hearing this week over an extension of the Coliseum City exclusive negotiating agreement, Al Malik or his firm was rarely mentioned during the discussion. Of the two new well-financed investors, the focus of the staff was clearly on Colony Capital LLC, one of the world’s largest private equity firms.

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Don Perata conceding the 2010 Oakland
mayoral race to Jean Quan.

The excursion by Raiders owner Mark Davis to a potential stadium site in Concord is not viewed by the Coliseum Authority as anything but a willingness by the blond bowl-cut-styled owner to listen any and all offers presented to the team. Whether a stadium is built in Concord or Oakland, there still remains a gaping $600 million difference between the cost of a new football stadium and the amount the Raiders and the NFL are ready to pony up. It’s not likely Contra Costa County has that kind of money to throw around, or voter exuberance for a tax or bond measure, either. And never mind, the potential site at the Concord Naval Weapons Station is likely an environmental mess.

But, one other point with the trip to Concord that is upsetting some in Oakland is who rode shotgun for the ride. Don Perata was mentioned in reports as a Raiders consultant who also toured the site with Davis and the mayor of Concord. As a former Alameda County supervisor, Perata, in 1995, helped engineer the return of the Raiders from Los Angeles on the back of a failed personal seat license scheme and ultimately saddled the city and county with $100 million in debt, which the cash-strapped city is still paying. In fact, the debacle and large unpaid balance for the Coliseum’s Mount Davis remains a significant barrier for building any future facilities at the complex. To make matters worse, the upper level of the hulking outfield structure has been tarped off by both the A’s and the Raiders, rendering them more useful as a ski jumping platform.

CORRECTION: Perata’s involvement in bringing the Raiders back to Oakland followed his stint as Alameda County supervisor.