The City of Oakland has sued the Oakland Raiders, the National Football League and its remaining 31 teams, claiming that they’ve conspired to “boycott” the city in favor of moving to Las Vegas in violation of the antitrust laws and in breach of the league’s own relocation policies.
According to the lawsuit, filed by attorneys in the City Attorney’s office, Berg & Androphy and Pearson, Simon & Warshaw, the $378 million “relocation fee” that the Raiders paid acted as “supra-competitive cartel payments” to the league’s other team owners. The lawsuit claims that the league and its teams ignored their own policy of making relocation decisions based on each club’s obligation to “advance the interest of the League in its home territory.”
“Defendants openly ignored those Policies and approved the Raiders’ relocation not because of some perceived lack of support by Oakland – or some concern about what Oakland was willing to pay or not pay toward a new or renovated stadium – but because of the supra-competitive payment Defendants coerced from Las Vegas which they would individually pocket by supporting the move,” the city’s lawyers wrote. “This is a case of leveraging of monopoly power, resulting in an anticompetitive wealth transfer from municipalities to private business, in violation of the antitrust laws.”
Oakland City Attorney Barbara Parker said in a press release announcing the lawsuit that the “move lines the pockets of NFL owners and sticks Oakland, its residents, taxpayers and dedicated fans with the bill.”
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to hold the defendants accountable and help to compensate Oakland for the damages the defendants’ unlawful actions have caused and will cause to the people of Oakland,” she said.
Representatives of the league and the team didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
Read the complaint: