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respect wrigleyAt the Cubs Convention this past weekend, Cubs officials took a surprisingly sharp tone with respect to the rooftops that have long been among the most significant hold-ups in the renovation of Wrigley Field. At the time, I wondered if it meant things weren’t going well in talks to have a deal in place so that the renovation could start … or if it meant things were going so well that the Cubs knew they had all of the leverage. The Cubs, themselves, said that recent discussions had been productive.

Maybe not anymore.

The Sun-Times today reports that discussions have fallen apart after a particularly contentious meeting yesterday, and after the rooftops today sued Marc Ganis, a former Tribune consultant, for comments he made last year about the Cubs/rooftops dispute. The Cubs are named in the lawsuit, according to the Sun-Times, albeit for now as a “discovery” party (i.e., the rooftops are saying they’re going to want to seek discovery from the Cubs*, not necessarily damages). It’s a little tricky to say precisely why this suit is happening right now, since there’s the obvious Cubs/rooftop/negotiation connection, but there’s also a statute of limitations that was going to run out as of yesterday, when the suit was filed.

*(Drawing on some past experience, when two parties are engaged in a financial negotiation (especially one that might lead to future litigation), one thing you’d love to be able to do is ask the other side for all of their internal financial documents. I’m not saying the rooftops don’t have a reason to sue Ganis for his comments – I’m not making any comment in either direction – but I could see a scenario where what the rooftops really want is information from the Cubs. Discovery from one case might help them if there is a future legal battle about the renovation, in total. In other words, the suit against Ganis could be the start of “the litigation” we’ve all been fearing. But, as I said: there was also the statute of limitations to consider. The rooftops could simply have been trying to protect their own rights.)

Apparently that negotiation breakdown yesterday, and the lawsuit today, has pushed the Cubs away from the negotiating table. You can, and should, read the Sun-Times piece for more details and context. It even sounds like the Cubs might now go ahead and put up the see-through advertising sign in right field (the one that was the most contentious), since they have City approval to do so. I can only assume the Cubs would be expecting a hostile reaction from the rooftops if they took that step.

In a statement released by the Cubs to the Sun-Times and to Greg Hinz at Crain’s, this could be ugly.

“We have worked hard to reach a resolution with our rooftop partners which would have helped preserve their views, including reducing the number, size and location of our signs,” a Cubs spokesman said in the statement. “Unfortunately, they opted yesterday to reject the proposal and file this lawsuit. Since our approvals last year, we have been anxious to get the Wrigley Field renovation started. Yesterday’s action will certainly force additional delays to our project.”

EFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFffffffffff.

Now then. We’ll see how things actually proceed, because, while litigation can be lengthy, unpredictable, and expensive, it can also sometimes be the thing that pushes sides to actually work out an agreement.

Hopefully, the Cubs saying that the lawsuit will “certainly force additional delays” is more about applying public pressure than anything else. But, as I’ve said all along, however you feel about the parties or the issues, litigation was the one thing nobody wants.

I won’t pretend to be able to tell you what happens next until we get a little more information. I’m still waiting to review the suit for myself, and we’ll await a response from the rooftops, as well.

Great day, huh?

  • V23

    Rosemont! Rosemont! Rosemont!

    Can get way more revenue without the attendance needs. Then watch rooftop owners declare bankruptcy.

    Really, Ricketts needs to make a very public at least “pretend” to Rosemont, which he should’ve done from the beginning. He negotiated too honestly with a bunch of deadbeats.

    I’ll never set foot at Murphy’s, or a rooftop or Cubby Bear. Maybe just me, but I hate those places.

    • Edwin

      Even if they find a place in Rosemont they like, and line up some financing arrangment, it’s still probably a 2-4 year project to build a new stadium.

      • Jon

        And once they are about to sign the financing engagement, a call will come form the city of Chicago, and the rootops begging them not to do it. They’ll offer to remove all restrictions and let the Cubs do whatever the hell they want.

        • Edwin

          That is one possibility, sure.

        • Boogens

          That’d be a hell of a lot more preferrable than getting nothing accomplished while waiting for the contract with the rooftops to expire.

          • hansman

            DO SOMETHING NOW!!!!! I DON’T CARE IF IT IS A BAD IDEA!!!!!!!!!!

            • Jon

              What an awful idea by Reinsdorf to threaten a move to Florida, worked out terrible for him.

            • V23

              Hansman- What are you talking about. This is the longest fricken road to a simple renovation we’ve ever seen.

            • mr. mac

              WHY ARE WE YELLING?!?!?!?!

              • ssckelley

                [img]https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQbMydWfdhi2TBvdeeZp35YO3rNjz5Ol5NxZ1FZtnh3yNCsI1DE[/img]

            • DarthHater

              [img]http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2833/12092407766_eff178f992_n.jpg[/img]

    • Senor Cub

      Good thing I don’t own the Cubs or I would put them in the suburbs. This will drag on for a long time and in the end everyone including the rooftop owners lose. They can build a new stadium in 3 years. I would rather take my changes on something certain in 3 years then 3 yrs of bickering.

  • Bilbo161

    The Cubs just need to end this dispute. Couldn’t they just say forget the renovation, we will build in the burbs and return to Wrigley for showcase games now and then. But they have to prove they mean it if they want the rooftops to capitulate.

    • jp3

      “The Cubs just need to end this dispute. Couldn’t they just say forget the renovation”. Yeah but then what would we pretend we were going to spend our money on?

  • Rebuilding

    Talk about the parasite harming the host. Look, I think these folks have a right to protect their interests since the Cubs stupidly signed a deal with them. However, if they truly do stall the renovation by a year at least by filing the lawsuit – then I think we should organize a BN picket in front of all these bloodsuckers establishments

  • Cyranojoe

    Is there anyone who still supports the rooftops at this point? Not that it’s a popularity contest, really, because they’ll probably always have customers, but dang. I used to have a fair amount of sympathy for their position (i.e., that they had a contract, don’t screw with our contract!), but at this point, hurry up and play ball already. Sheesh.

    • Edwin

      I don’t support the rooftop owners, but I understand that any business owner anywhere will always try to act in his or her own perceived best interest.

  • Justin

    Screw Wrigleyville. I want the Cubs to move out with their middle fingers blazing worse than I want them to field a competitive big league team, and that’s saying a lot!

    • Edwin

      Wouldn’t that basically be cutting off your nose to spite your face?

      • Justin

        Nah, if they moved it would be years out for sure. So they wouldn’t field a competitive until 2017 at the earliest.. Pretty much the same timeline as now i guess…

        • Justin

          competitive *team

  • The Ghost of Brett Jackson

    Is putting up the RF sign is the easiest and most cost protected way to get the roofies to sue now?…..Conspiracy here but maybe the Cubs are going ahead with it to just get them to sue now and start that process? If they know it is inevitable it might make sense.

    • mjhurdle

      could be.
      Another conspiracy theory….the Cubs want to move out of Wrigley, and all this back and forth is to create the appearance (true or not) that they have no choice but to leave. Minimizes the backlash of leaving the historic Wrigley if the average fan believes that it was at least mostly the City/Rooftops fault.

      hmm, i think we are getting into DieHard territory now

      • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

        Probably shouldn’t have bought up all that property or signed long-term contracts with sponsors for the new ad spots, then …

        • mjhurdle

          bah, it takes all the fun out of creating conspiracies if you are just going to bring up facts.

          :)

        • V23

          You gotta hope the contract had out clauses or can transfer if they are sued or something.
          Cubs can’t be that stupid? Cubs could’ve started renovation already but chose not to, until they guaranteed no lawsuit…hopeful Ricketts has a plan B

        • cubfanincardinalland

          Yeah, in hindsight, they kind of put the old cart before the horse.

        • Edwin

          All part of the long con…

    • itzscott

      I’ve also been thinking that maybe the Cubs finally came to the point where they want the rooftops to sue in order to get this settled already.

      The rooftops seem to be uncompromising in the face of numerous and seemingly equitable goodwill offers by the Cubs.

      Possibly in the Cubs’ mindset it was damn if they do damn if they don’t since in a very short time they’d be losing more and more ad revenue not being taken advantage of the longer this drags on to the point where it would actually cost them more money not going to court than what they’d end up paying their legal team…. who appears to be on pretty solid footing with the city behind them.

    • D.G.Lang

      If the rooftops sue NOW perhaps the Cubs could use that to avoid the discovery which might have released unfavorable information to the rooftops.

      In other words if the Cubs are being sued directly could they also be forced to give discovery in the other case if it could be used against them in their own case.

      I realize that the rooftops would probably use discovery against the Cubs when they sue the Cubs anyway but is there some thing(s) they could ask for against the reporter that they couldn’t ask for against the Cubs proper if they were suing the Cubs.

  • Fastball

    I would move the Cubs out of Wrigley asap. Then use the place for concerts and whatever else they can think of. Also wondering. do the bleachers get to watch concerts on the same contract or is it just ball games? I would put up a curtain around the enitre place so they can’t watch concerts from those rooftops. Or just bull doze Wrigley to the ground after they sell all the cool stuff like the seats etc. to Cubs fans. If they started selling the contents of Wrigley peice by peice they would raise a bunch of money toward the new stadium build. Some crazy rich bastard would pay millions for the scoreboard. I would sell the bricks out of the wall, sell replantable pieces of the ivy so people can say they have Wrigley Ivy growing on their house. That shit is worth millions. Once it’s completely parted out like a wrecked car then bull doze it and sell the land to a developer or put your own condo development up and call it a day.

    • JB88

      That’s great, but you are forgetting that they are only zoned to hold a finite number of concerts there.

      If they move out of Wrigley, they essentially forfeit hundreds of dollars in value of that stadium/property.

      • JB88

        Ha. That was supposed to read “hundreds of millions of dollars in value”, not “hundreds of dollars.” *Blush*

  • Serious Cubs Fan

    They were probably waiting till the cubs convention was over so ricketts wouldn’t have to deal with this while getting asked questions at cubs con

    • JB88

      Right … So the Cubs and Casey Close conspired so the Cubs’ ownership wouldn’t be asked tough questions at their fan convention. Obviously, one of the more plausible conspiracy theories being floated out there.

  • Joshua Edwards

    Well, it’s been an epic 24 hours of crap for Cubs fans to digest. And my buddy in Mesa says we’re losing today 3-0 in the 7th inning, and pitchers and catchers haven’t even reported yet.

    Gonna need a beer to put these flames out.

    Any chance we can get an enhanced box score to lighten the mood?

  • frankhutch

    Glad we didn’t go crazy on tanaka. Don’t get me wrong it would have been nice to get him but basically 25 million per year (after posting fee) for 7 years for a pitcher is insane. Especially for a guy who hasn’t pitched here. Going anything over 5 years for a pitcher is such a huge risk

  • Ill see you at Sluggers.

    Only in America could a group of people who are stealing someone else’s product be holding up such a major renovation to begin. I take that back, only in CHICAGO could a bunch of crooks get away with something like this. I’d be livid if I were Ricketts, and rightfully so it sounds like they are upset. As a die-hard Cubbie fan I’m pretty angry with the rooftops for preventing this renovation from getting started. I would start threatening to move again until the city of Chicago gets the rooftops in line. Unbelievable. I am now on board with leaving Wrigley just to stick it to those bastards. I know they’re only trying to protect themselves but at what point do you start becoming worried that you’ve alienated yourselves from the fans? Honestly, how many people even want to sit in the rooftops now, after this?

    • Edwin

      They’re not stealing the Cub’s product though.

      • jp3

        All this arguing over the rooftop owners saying “hey don’t block our views!” I can give them the recap on almost every game with the lineups we’ve been running out, we lose a lot…spoiler alert to your patrons coming to watch games there

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          Ha! Rooftop patrons watching the games, that’s a good one man. Most of them have had so much to drink, they couldn’t see a game going on if it were 5 feet in front of them.

  • frankhutch

    Tunney is a joke. Wouldn’t be terrible if something happened to him

    • Jon

      maybe rear ended.

  • ssckelley

    Just buy the damn roof tops, at least the one that has their view blocked from the new signage.

    I suppose it is more complicated than that.

    • Napercal

      I have advocated for this for years.

    • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

      You need two parties for a sale. Can’t buy what someone isn’t willing to sell

      • ssckelley

        In this situation I would think there is a price. If Rickets offered enough money to make the Rooftop owners comfortable why would they not want to sell? If I was a rooftop owner I would be wanting out right about now.

        • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

          I agree there is a price, but what is that price? At this point I don’t trust these rooftop owners to think logically

      • smackafilieyo

        Government can, haha

  • Cizzle

    I got a kick out of this espn LA Article/headline:
    “At long last, the Dodgers are out-bid”

  • V23

    After being a Cub fan for 4 decades, there is always new ways to get hurt!

    Who would’ve thought a January 22nd, could drive the most anger for Cub fans since October 2008.

    This is brutal.

  • D-Rock

    What would happen if the Cubs just said screw it, we are moving forward- you don’t like it, go ahead and sue us? Would this go badly for the Cubs? I tend to think the Rickets can afford the litigation and come to some sort of a settlement with the rooftoppers.

    • Edwin

      Wouldn’t the lawsuit basically shut down construction though, at least until the lawsuit is settled?

      • JB88

        Not unless the rooftops moved for and received an injunction to halt the construction. I think that is the main concern and why the Cubs wouldn’t/won’t begin construction until things are resolved with the rooftops.

        • http://becomehealthier.com drcub1908

          Why not improves the locker rooms and / or dugouts….why the hang up to improve player facilities..???

          PS BOYCOTT the rooftops

          • D-Rock

            Agreed, drcub1908. Why can’t they do 2 separate building projects. One for the player facilities, etc. and another for the signage? That way the signage project can wait until the rooftoppers get their act together.

          • JB88

            I suspect—as others have also guess—that the Cubs are not starting these renovations because it would compromise their negotiating position. You don’t sink $50M into a project when: (a) you are claiming that the funds for the project are coming from increased Ad revenue; (b) you could theoretically lose that Ad revenue if a court restricted the Cubs’ right to add a jumbotron or other outfield signage; and (c) you could lose negotiating position with the Mayor’s office if ownership suddenly starts sinking its own funds into a project when you sold the project on needing (a) and (b).

            There was also a story (about which Brett wrote last week) that the rooftops would challenge the entire project based on the notion that the Landmark Commission and the City improvidently granted the Cubs permission to perform the renovation. I think that is an absolute loser of an argument, by the rooftops, though. No judge is going to enjoin the Cubs from improving the brick & mortar of the stadium, particularly, where the landmark designations don’t reach those sections. I think the argument is effectively a red herring by the Cubs to garner further sympathy for it not starting the project yet.

          • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

            From what I understood, the rooftops plan to challenge the permits that the Cubs got for their construction in their lawsuit, so an injunction would be for the entire construction project, not just for the signs.

            • Napercal

              From what I understand, the rooftops sell for $85 – 150 per ticket. I can’t imagine too many people paying that kind of money to watch this Cubs team this year. Especially when tickets on the secondary market will be cheap. I now understand Crane Kenney’s logic – put a crap product on the field to drive the prices/profit down on the rooftop owners. Sanctions!!! That will bring them to the bargaining table!!

              • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

                They’ll do just fine, people go for the unlimited food/drinks and the atmosphere, not for the product on the firld

                • Napercal

                  There were all kinds of deals at the end of last season. And according to the rooftop website, there are still plenty of tickets available for opening day. Those tickets are usually long gone by now. I’m sure the demand will be real high for those balmy April and May dates. People will be spilling out of the L to get there in September. The only hope those clowns have is if fans of the visiting team rent them out for clients

      • Pat

        The rooftops might get an injunction on putting up the signs in right and left, but they could not block construction on the whole.

        If Ricketts was actually putting up his own money this wouldn’t be an issue, but they are essentially planning to use the money from the jumbotron and right field sign to pay for construction – so if no signs, no construction.

        • D-Rock

          This is turning into an absolute disaster… Just the Cubs luck…

        • cubfanincardinalland

          On Saturday, Ricketts said that they would not start any construction without a threat of a lawsuit, because the zoning of the entire project could be challenged, and halt any construction.
          The most important statement Saturday, was Kenney adamantly saying that there was nothing in the contract that prevented the Cubs from putting up signage that blocked views. He said the only previous holdup was from the Landmark Commission, which has now given a 100% green light.

  • OlderStyle

    move them to the ‘burbs. I’m good with it.

    • Pat

      Finding somewhere in the burbs that can realistically handle the traffic is easier said than done. Everybody loves the Rosemont idea, but when is the last time you went to a sold out show at the Allstate Arena? I can be 30 to 40 minutes from the offramp to being parked, and that is only a 20,000 or so seat facility. Add in 40,000 heading to a Cubs game and it would be a nightmare.

      • V23

        It’s a nightmare getting to Wrigley right now. Unless you live by the Red or Brown line (or bus I guess) it sucks!!
        Blue line ends at Addison and the bus is a good hour to get to the stadium. There is no parking. If you ever go on one of those “party” buses, it takes an hour to leave.

        Let’s not pretend Wrigley is convenient to everyone either.

        • MatthewP

          Agreed with V23. Wrigley is awful to get in/out of by vehicle. Far and away the worst of the ballparks that I’ve been to in my life. Far and away the most sub-standard facilities as well. I’m on board with moving out.

  • cubfanincardinalland

    Went to some games with some casual fans last year. Their impressions of the stadium were, “wonderful atmosphere, but the stadium was rather run down and in shabby condition”.
    Question, how many years is it realistic for the Cubs to play in Wrigley without doing a renovation? Or in other words, is there not an actual point where doing nothing is not really an option?

    • JB88

      My personal opinion is that we reached “lipstick on a pig” status many years ago.

  • Required

    There is a boycott Wrigleyville Rooftops Facebook page. Just sayin. It worked for Phil Robertson.

  • Ballgame17

    +1

  • http://fullcount1544.blogspot.com FullCountTommy

    Just throwing this out there because of all of the people advocating for moving the team. Are we sure there isn’t a clause in the contract with the rooftops saying that the Cubs can’t move?? With how terrible this contract is, it wouldn’t surprise me…

    • Jon

      I believe I read there indeed is no clause that prevents them from moving…..

      Actually, it was when radio station had Beth Murphy on she admitted there was noting in their deal that prevented the Cubs from moving.

  • itzscott

    I’m not a lawyer, but wouldn’t the rooftops need to prove that the reporter caused them harm in what was written?

    I’m not sure what kind of harm his opinion could have caused them.

    Anybody?

    • JB88

      There are sorts of defamation where damages do not need to be proven, because the statement is so severe that it is presumed to cause harm. Those claims are premised on something called “defamation per se”, and one of the recognized categories of defamation per se in Illinois relates to a claim that a party is incapable of performing its business.

      I don’t think that Gregoris’s comment qualifies, personally, but without having seen the complaint I couldn’t begin to comment on the validity of the claim or the likelihood that it will survive a motion to dismiss.

      • JB88

        Sorry, Ganis, not Gregoris (was going off memory, which clearly proved faulty here).

  • Required

    This just in …. ARod is now going to sue the Cubs!

  • Kevrconnors

    A team from the MIT and Harvard departments of Physics, and the US Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center, has developed a new approach to produce transparent projection screens. Their result paves the way for a new class of transparent displays with many attractive features, including wide viewing angle, scalability to large size, and low cost.

    Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-01-team-inexpensive-transparent-screen-video.html#jCp

  • David STC

    If Daley was still Mayor, I’m not sure this would be an issue. He would have forced this issue with the rooftop owners.

    • Jon

      Doubt it.

    • JB88

      Disagree 100%. Daley purportedly never had a soft spot for the Cubs, was in office when the dreadful Landmark designations were enacted, and reportedly resisted upgrading Addison for years as spite toward the Cubs/Tribune.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    You know I am sick f these rooftop MF’ers. If I were Ricketts I would tell them to stick it up their asses and find some place nearby to build a stadium for them. And don’t pay the taxes on Wrigley and let mayor Rahm and his cronies have that delapidated ball park. Hey I’m a Hoosier and remember well the day that Irsay pulled out of Baltimore in the middle of the night to come to Indy. Let those SOB’s deal with the crack heads and shootings when there is no more baseball to be played there. I am F’ing pissed!

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  • ssckelley

    I say we picket Wrigley Field during the games, right outside the outfield wall, with really really tall signs.

    :D

  • Blackhawks1963

    Definition of a total clusterfu(k.

  • http://bleachernation.com woody

    I like to load up a B-52 full of cow shit and dump it on their roofs.

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