During the Golden State Warriors’ championship parade in Oakland this past June, team owner Joe Lacob promised fans he would foot the bill for a city facing financial difficulties. Earlier this month, though, the Warriors and Oakland were haggling over a $1 million bill that was three times the city’s original estimate but a quarter of the amount a team spokesman pledged soon after the parade.
It was bizarre then, and it’s even more bizarre now that the Warriors have agreed to pick up the $786,988 tab for this year’s parade with one of the most passive-aggressive statements you’ll ever see:
Warriors' statement on paying for championship parade in Oakland. pic.twitter.com/Vn3c7rhREs
— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) September 28, 2017
“Out of an abundance of goodwill toward the city of Oakland, the Warriors have agreed to cover the entirety of the city’s revised estimated costs from this summer’s NBA Championship parade — despite the fact that the revised amount of $786,988 is more than double the $300,000 estimate the Warriors were provided by the city in the lead-up to the parade.
“This amount comes on top of the nearly $6 million the Warriors have already spent to produce two victory parades in Oakland; most American cities cover the majority of the expenses associated with victory parades.
“We have made this decision despite our disappointment with the process and the large disparity between the two estimates.”
Now, imagine you’re celebrating a rec league title at a local watering hole, the richest guy in the room announces, “Drinks on me!” and then when the bill comes, he’s like, “Out of an abundance of goodwill, I will cover this even though I had no idea it would cost this much. I come in here all the time, and most bars would be hooking me up at this point. I’ll pay this time, but damn it, I don’t have to like it.”
The bartender would be like, “Who does this guy think he is?” Especially if he knew the dude was planning to move and would soon never be setting foot in that watering hole again. That, essentially, is what you have here with the Warriors, who are heading to a new arena in San Francisco in 2019, leaving Oakland on the hook for the $71 million bill left over from Oracle Arena’s 1997 renovations.
The city’s statement, however, was a little more gracious:
“Today, the Golden State Warriors made good on their public promise to pay the City of Oakland for hosting the team’s 2017 Championship parade. The City is grateful for the $786,998 payment, which offsets all taxpayer costs it took to provide Police, Fire, and Public Works personnel to staff such a massive public event. The parade was a safe and joyous community occasion for generations of Oaklanders, and the City appreciates the Warriors’ financial investment—few professional franchises can boast such a commitment to their home city.”
Granted, most cities do pay for the majority of championship parade costs, and the final bill Oakland sent the Warriors was more than twice the original $300,000 estimate (due in large part, the city says, to increased security concerns), including costs Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf conceded the city would’ve incurred anyway, but maybe Lacob shouldn’t have said this to the massive crowd on June 15:
“We recognize that times are hard and this city in particular has had its share of issues over the years, and it has its share of needs. There’s a lot of fundamental needs, police, schools and everything like that. We’d just like to say that this parade, this whole day, all the cost, every dollar is on us. It’s our gift to the city of Oakland.”
In early September, the two sides were reportedly still debating the $1,060,174 bill, which featured labor costs for 588 police officers that exceeded the original estimate alone and also included $244,278 in costs for the team’s 2015 title parade — a line item the team claimed to have already paid.
Thursday’s statement by the Warriors indicated the team would not pay the 2015 charges, and city spokeswoman Karen Boyd confirmed to The Mercury News those charges were “a misunderstanding.”
As for what might happen in 2018, when Golden State is favored to win a third title in four years, Boyd told The Mercury News in an email, “Those conversations would be premature. Go Warriors!”
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