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Khan accuses Jacksonville of violating lease, seeks swift resolution of default claim

Jacksonville Jaguars NFL football team owner Shahid Khan poses at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Reuters

Uh.  Oh.

Jaguars owner Shahid Khan has been unequivocal regarding his desire to keep the team in Jacksonville.  He has adopted the city as a home away from home.  He has spent on free agents and he plans to spend on improving the team’s facilities.  He has donated $1 million to a veteran’s guidance center.

And he’s now embroiled in a full-blown fight with City officials.

In a May 30 letter to Mayor Alvin Brown, obtained by the Jacksonville Business Journal, Khan accuses the City of violating the lease agreement that allows the franchise to play at Everbank Field.

The dispute arises from the fairly mundane task of hiring a manager for the facility.  Khan contends that Section 2.5(E) of the lease requires the Jaguars to, upon reviewing the submitted proposals, make a recommendation to Jacksonville.  City officials then will evaluate the proposals after the Jaguars make the recommendation.  (The City apparently believes that the two parties must converse about the situation before any recommendations are made.)

Khan explains that the Jaguars made their recommendation, and that a lawyer representing Jacksonville then sent the team a letter declaring the franchise to be in default, and “putting in motion a termination of our lease.”

As we said, “Uh.  Oh.”

“The action of sending the default letter is unprecedented,” Khan writes.  “The default mechanism of the lease has not been implemented in the 18 years the lease has been in effect.  While we certainly take the default claim seriously, the only response we can make to your letter is to cure the claimed default.  However, it is not possible to cure as we are in full compliance with the lease.

“Mayor, I hope you can understand that I am shocked and perplexed at the City’s actions.  I am at a loss to understand the purpose of this drastic and unprecedented action.  I am hopeful that the letter is as a result of an overzealous lawyer and not the result of the philosophy of your administration in dealing with the partnership between the City of Jacksonville and the Jaguars.  We have sought to comply exactly with our lease obligations.”

Khan then requests Brown to “advise us of the method of your implementation of the default and termination, if that is your intention.”  Khan adds, “We are on the cusp of training camp to begin the NFL season and will need to act quickly.”

Again:  “Uh.  Oh.”

The fact that Jacksonville is initiating the termination process seems very odd, unless Jacksonville perceives that it can derive a benefit that somehow outweighs the costs of possibly giving the team the ability to, you know, move.  And it’s hard not to at least wonder whether Khan’s response is aimed to provoking a fight that eventually would give him the ability to, you know, move.

In the interim, we’ll track down a copy of the lease and try to make sense of who’s right and who’s wrong.  There doesn’t seem to be much middle ground on this one — either the Jaguars’ actions complied with the lease, or they didn’t.

It feels like something bigger is happening here, but it’s hard to imagine the lease disintegrating simply because the Jaguars recommended the hiring of a facilities manager.  Even if the action constitutes a violation of the lease, it doesn’t seem like the kind of thing that could result in the lease imploding and the Jaguars relocating.

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31 Responses to “Khan accuses Jacksonville of violating lease, seeks swift resolution of default claim”
  1. rolltide510 says: May 30, 2012 6:12 PM

    In before the Jags fans inform us there’s nothing to see and the team will never ever ever ever pack up and leave for LA.

  2. thegreatgabbert says: May 30, 2012 6:16 PM

    Shad Khan smiles while posing with the statue of a California Mountain Puma.

  3. jimmylions says: May 30, 2012 6:17 PM

    Tune in tomorrow for another episode of As the Jaguars Turn.

  4. tazzard says: May 30, 2012 6:24 PM

    L.A. Jaguars! As a Viking fan I surely hope that the torch has not been passed to Jacksonville fans.

  5. nflhof says: May 30, 2012 6:25 PM

    California here I come……

  6. citizenstrange says: May 30, 2012 6:25 PM

    Just FYI — My home away from home is a black Benz limo with a cellular phone.

  7. patriotsdefense says: May 30, 2012 6:27 PM

    It is very odd indeed.

    If the lease is broken by the team I know the city gets a huge lump sum of money. I think it’s $30 million. But that number could have gone up after that extension signed by Weaver the former owner.

    This is very odd because secretly this is exactly what the team wants. Khan wanted to buy the Rams in STL. I think he’s going to get his wish to return to his home town of STL after the Rams return to LA.

    This is the first domino. Very shocking to see the city of Jacksonville give up any leverage of keeping an NFL team. The NFL will not return. Jaguars fans, pick the Falcons 300 miles north or the Bucs 170 southwest or the Dolphins 350 miles south. (BHA! and to think Florida said no thanks to high speed rail)

  8. Liga Del Tacos Rosa says: May 30, 2012 6:27 PM

    Is there ever any good news coming out of Jacksonville?

  9. Charles Fenwick says: May 30, 2012 6:27 PM

    The lawyer that sent the letter claiming the Jaguars had defaulted on the lease has promptly backtracked.

    From the news4jax.com story:

    “When we received your letter dated May 24, 2012, that the Jacksonville Jaguars have selected SMG as the EverBank Field facility manager I was surprised,” General Counsel Cindy Laquidara wroter in a letter Jaguars president Mark Lamping. “until this afternoon, I was unaware of the change to the RFP agreed to by Ms. Chastain in contravention to my April 30, 2012, letter to Mr. Brown.”

    “Please consider this my withdrawal of that default,” Laquidara wrote. “Given the long-standing positive relationship between the Jaguars and the City and new information, which appears to indicate that the two parties simply have a misunderstanding on this matter, I hereby withdraw any notice of default. It would be more productive for representatives from the Jaguars and the City to meet and see if we can resolve any concerns that either party has.”

  10. tfbuckfutter says: May 30, 2012 6:31 PM

    Is the mayor of Jacksonville James Bond?

    Because he is the only man who could get away with crossing someone sporting that mustache.

  11. pftstory says: May 30, 2012 6:39 PM

    Doesn’t the headline say Khan accuses Jacksonville of violating the lease and the article speaks of how the city accuses the Jaguars of violating the lease?

  12. vanmorrissey says: May 30, 2012 6:45 PM

    Sounds suspicious since no way Jags could up and leave for LA this year with no place to play and no arrangements made otherwise. Waiting for more info, or if we got it already thanks to Charles Fenwick above, then its just another PFT gag, oh wait, ‘report’ because after all these are ‘journalists’. Right.

  13. iced107 says: May 30, 2012 6:46 PM

    patriotsdefense says:
    May 30, 2012 6:27 PM

    This is very odd because secretly this is exactly what the team wants. Khan wanted to buy the Rams in STL. I think he’s going to get his wish to return to his home town of STL after the Rams return to LA.
    —————————————————-

    Except that the Rams are not moving to L.A. 1st off, should St.Louis actually terminate their lease with the Rams, they are not eligible to move until March 2015..which also happens to be the same time the builder of the new stadium said he would not wait til to get a new team.

    Secondly, Raiders, Chargers,and Jags all are much higher in the running to move.

    Thirdly – The Rams offer to upgrade the stadium is not a ridiculious or absurd offer. It looks like a legit,practical offer and not one made out of desperation to move but really upgrade. And then add in the fact that the owners upped the loan to $300 million for stadium renovations and that just makes it all the more likely. The estimates to update the EJD is somewhere between $200-$600 mill, depending on who you ask but the real number is probably somewhere in between.

    Yea..Doubt the Rams are moving since they’re serious about staying in the ‘Lou

  14. mrlaloosh says: May 30, 2012 6:47 PM

    London Jaguars has a ring to it.

  15. maddenisfordorks says: May 30, 2012 6:49 PM

    Ugh.

    It seems like the entire national media just wants to take turns smearing feces all over my jags. they’ll work this out … OR we can just do the whole unfounded LA speculation thing peppered with trash talk.

    In due time folks …. In due time.

  16. jrod613 says: May 30, 2012 6:50 PM

    ugh, I’m so glad the vikes got their stadium, so I don’t have to hear LA Vikings anymore.
    Welcome to months of LA Jaguars speculation.

  17. jagsfan9674 says: May 30, 2012 6:53 PM

    “jrod613 says:
    May 30, 2012 6:50 PM
    ugh, I’m so glad the vikes got their stadium, so I don’t have to hear LA Vikings anymore.
    Welcome to months of LA Jaguars speculation.”

    Except LA Jaguars speculation has been going on for 4 years now. It’s a little bit of a tired joke now. This story was posted 10 minutes to soon. 5 mins or so after the story was posted the city withdrew it’s claim of default.

  18. tformation says: May 30, 2012 6:54 PM

    Yup. That’s playing hardball, alright.

  19. jakek2 says: May 30, 2012 7:07 PM

    You’re all blind. This is all Khan’s doing. He’s concocting a pretend fight started by the city in order to give him a reason to move out of that wasteland.

  20. patriotsdefense says: May 30, 2012 7:08 PM

    iced107 says: May 30, 2012 6:46 PM

    Yea..Doubt the Rams are moving since they’re serious about staying in the ‘Lou
    _________

    I have nothing against STL. The ‘accepted conventional wisdom’ is that the new Rams owners intentionally asked for the moon because they don’t want to stay in STL. The figures you mentioned are not want the Rams asked for. That’s what the city wants to do with the Edwards Dome. The Rams proposal had a price tag of a minimum of $700+ million with the addition of a retractable roof.

    I don’t think the Jaguars will be so ardent with their demands for improvements, that is if Khan returns home to STL.

  21. oldcracker says: May 30, 2012 7:09 PM

    I always think of Gerardo Luigi Colonna when I see pictures of Khan smiling.

    What would “Jerry” do?

  22. duluthvikesfan says: May 30, 2012 7:12 PM

    I have a feeling there is a lawyer for the city of Jacksonville who is in some deep doo-doo right now! Particularly when you read the new report with the city backtracking and now withdrawing the claim of default. And as for the team moving to LA, ain’t going to happen. I have been convinced for a long time the Chargers will be the team to go to LA. They have been in need of a new stadium deal longer than any other team. Also, with being right down the coast many of the teams fans would stick with them. My guess is the NFL already knows they will eventually move to LA. But until they do, the vacancy of a franchise in LA will be used by the NFL as a bargaining chip for any team needing a stadium (just as it was in Minnesota).

  23. peytonsneck18 says: May 30, 2012 7:15 PM

    when did ron jeremy buy the jaguars?

  24. archetypeobscure says: May 30, 2012 7:20 PM

    I can’t understand why any city would do anything to jeopardize losing their team. I also can’t understand why any team would bother going to LA, when every previous attempt has been an abject failure.

  25. stayclassyasheville says: May 30, 2012 7:34 PM

    Will Art Rooney & Roger Gooddell make a special visit this time like in MN?

  26. granadafan says: May 30, 2012 7:37 PM

    “jagsfan9674 says: May 30, 2012 6:53 PM
    Except LA Jaguars speculation has been going on for 4 years now. It’s a little bit of a tired joke now. This story was posted 10 minutes to soon. 5 mins or so after the story was posted the city withdrew it’s claim of default.”
    ============================================

    You’re missing the point by blaming the media for posting the story. The city’s claim of default was an incredibly poor decision. Instead of simply picking up the phone and ASKING the Jags for clarification, they let the idiotic lawyer send the Jags an inflammatory accusation. That claim of default was like a line in the sand stance by the city. Whoever signed off on the letter before it was sent out should be fired along with the lawyer.

    This was a PR disaster for the city and has likely caused permanent damage with the relationship with the team who will likely look upon any interaction with the city with great and well-deserved suspicion.

  27. iced107 says: May 30, 2012 8:11 PM

    patriotsdefense says:
    May 30, 2012 7:08 PM
    iced107 says: May 30, 2012 6:46 PM
    I have nothing against STL. The ‘accepted conventional wisdom’ is that the new Rams owners intentionally asked for the moon because they don’t want to stay in STL. The figures you mentioned are not want the Rams asked for. That’s what the city wants to do with the Edwards Dome. The Rams proposal had a price tag of a minimum of $700+ million with the addition of a retractable roof.

    I don’t think the Jaguars will be so ardent with their demands for improvements, that is if Khan returns home to STL.
    ————————————————–

    You art partially right. The $700 million is the highest it was said to be though. Although those figures aren’t the same. Another contractor has also estimated it to be around $350 million, it depends who you want to ask. After arbitration, its supposed to be somewhere in between those two, probably around the $450-$500 million mark – which is not unreasonable. And if the city accepts the offer, the contract is binding and the Rams cannot move until 2025.

    And again, what the Rams asked for was not the moon nor has been the contract been deemed unncessary. You need to read some articles man, everything in the local has been saying Kroenke’s offer is NOT unreasonable, and appeals to look like a legit plan to upgrade the stadium while also shooting for a superbowl appearance.

  28. footballisfun says: May 30, 2012 8:37 PM

    If they move, I hope it’s London. I just love hearing “Jaguars” pronounced with a British accent…

  29. blueglaze says: May 30, 2012 10:01 PM

    Baha all comments on this thread about the jags moving are now proven to be moronic… Fact! (read latest article;) Hahahaha GO jAGS!

  30. juangargoyle says: May 30, 2012 10:31 PM

    Khan is mad that they’re not on Hard Knocks.

  31. covercorner says: May 31, 2012 12:14 AM

    The Jaguars will move to Cougartown.

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