Navy denies SunCal lawyer’s letter claim
The Navy bristled last week at SunCal’s claim that it was set to back the developer in its quest to extend its exclusive negotiating agreement with Alameda.
SunCal went to the Navy in June, the month before the city council voted the developer off the Island, seeking support. SunCal attorney Louis “Skip” Miller claimed last month that the Navy was ready to send the city a letter, supporting an extension of the agreement. But Miller accused city officials of telling the Navy that the developer was backing away from the $108.5 million purchase price, scaring them away from writing any sort of letter.
Alan Lee, base closure manager, said in a prepared statement last week that SunCal did ask for a letter, but he indicated that the Navy wouldn’t have gotten involved.
“The Navy is not involved in the terms related to the (exclusive negotiating agreement) and it would be inappropriate for this agency to persuade or influence a political body guided with overseeing the redevelopment of the former Naval Air Station,” Lee wrote.
Geoffrey Robinson, a lawyer representing Alameda, also denied the accusation that city officials told the Navy that SunCal was backing down from the purchase price in a July 23 letter to Miller.
“The city said nothing of the sort to the Navy,” Robinson wrote. “Local representatives of the Navy have confirmed to City staff that the Navy never agreed to provide a letter supporting an extension.”
The Navy has become a bone of contention between Alameda and SunCal because one of the milestones the developer was supposed to have reached before July 20 was a term sheet with the Navy. The lack of agreement on the term sheet was one of the reasons city staff recommended not to extend the negotiating agreement with SunCal.
Miller claimed that Interim City Manager Ann Marie Gallant halted negotiations with the Navy in May 2009, a claim the city has not denied. He also accused Gallant of fabricating the reasons why negotiations weren’t progressing in staff reports.
Robinson argued that SunCal was well aware of the reasons for stalled negotiations, writing that SunCal president Stan Brown acknowledged at a June 15 meeting that “the reason the City had not wanted to schedule a joint meeting with the Navy was because of concerns about the pro forma and other issues with the project.”
Lee said that the Navy would continue to work with Alameda to develop the Point.
“While the City Council’s recent decision to terminate SunCal’s project entitlement application alters the current path forward, the Navy will continue to work with the (city) and their associated development team members to meet the needs of the community in realizing the redevelopment of the former NAS Alameda,” he said.
Zusha Elinson is a staff reporter for The Bay Citizen. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.