Why do YOU think Arte Moreno walked away from $3 BILLION for the Angels?

Longtime Stadium-deal watcher and critic, realtor Wally Courtney, just sent me this article from Forbes’ Mike Ozanian, which reveals that the possible sale prices for the Angels that owner Arte Moreno publicly walked away from this week were likely as high as THREE BILLION DOLLARS. “There must be more to this story,” laconically observes Wally.

Three billion. That woulda been, by pretty far, the record, the new record for the sale of a baseball team, which till now was $2.42 billion for the Mets in 2020. Arte paid $183.5 MILLION for the team twenty years ago – he could have sold it this year for SIXTEEN TIMES that amount! But suddenly decided this week not to. Why not?

Well, what does Arte say? Speaking for his family (the owners) – either that or using the royal “we” – Arte tells us, “During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business and feel we can make a positive impact on the future of the team and the fan experience … As discussions advanced and began to crystallize, we realized our hearts remain with the Angels, and we are not ready to part ways with the fans, players and our employees.”

Wow, that is touching. And we should probably just take Arte at his word. Not. Really, he just suddenly realized how verklempt he and his family feel over relinquishing their role in America’s pastime? If Anaheim has learned anything about this billionaire owner this past decade, it’s that he is greedy, that he is scheming, and that all his histrionic announcements are timed to political events.

A decade ago he had 4 out of 5 Anaheim Councilmembers willing – eager – itching for some reason – to hand him the entire 150 acres for $1 a year, to develop and profit off as he saw fit. The whole council, that is, except Mayor Tom Tait. So Arte put all of his resources into defeating Tait and electing obedient Lucille Kring as Mayor in 2014. When Lucille faceplanted, coming in last even behind Lorri Galloway, Arte backed off for a cycle.

Next, we all remember his perfectly-timed announcement a month before the 2018 election – just as it looked like Ashleigh Aitken could beat Arte’s trusty tool Harry Sidhu for Mayor – that he was taking his team and leaving Anaheim. A large segment of Anaheim voters freaked the fuck out, and Sidhu was out with an “only I can keep them here” statement within an hour. THAT worked like a charm, the Shame of Sikhs prevailed by 472 votes, and immediately set to work engineering the notorious Giveaway.

Then last year when the latest sweetheart deal was tanked by federal law enforcement and Sidhu’s extravagant incaution, Arte reacted first by suing US for $5 million, and then, in a fit of tearful pique, telling the world he was done with the Angels, done with US, and was selling the team! But now, before the door had even half a chance to hit him on the way out, we suddenly get this? The sentimental fool had underestimated his strong, unbreakable emotional tie to the team, and was back in for the long haul?

And so of course once again, soon, we’re going to have to be negotiating some sort of Stadium lease or sale with this con artist.


People, the sort of people who want to appear smarter than anyone else, like to say in a portentous tone: “I don’t believe in coincidences,” or, even more presumptuously, “THERE ARE NO COINCIDENCES.” Well, I’ve seen plenty of coincidences in my time. But is THIS one? Arte’s announcement that he’s gonna be staying in Anaheim came 24 hours before the Anaheim Council, already dominated by FOUR Disney-sponsored members, solidified that majority by appointing Daly aide Norma Kurtz, a board member of SOAR, Disney’s lobbyist and money funnel.

Interestingly, the applicant that nearly every public commenter preferred, the one who was nominated by Mayor Aitken and supported by Carlos Leon, but rejected by the four Disney councilmembers, was honest Democrat Annemarie Randle-Trejo, who (by coincidence?) had recorded this song with me when Sidhu’s Stadium Swindle was first rolled out:


There must be a “NEXUS” between Disney’s interests and the repeated attempts to give Arte Moreno a lopsidedly favorable deal for the Stadium property, but none of us have exactly figured it out. We know a few things – even though the press and public seems to have ignored it, Disney government relations flack Carrie Nocella was one of the THREE named members of the “CABAL” dominating Anaheim at the time. And we know that the Sidhu Stadium Swindle of 2020-21 was shoved through by a 5-2 Disney-funded Council. And that now, having learned nothing, we ONCE AGAIN have a 5-2 Disney-funded Council.

All I can say is that, when we’re told later this year that we need to work out the NEXT deal with Arte Moreno over the Stadium and surrounding property, Anaheim voters and taxpayers better hang onto their wallets with both hands.

But those are just MY disjointed thoughts this chilly Saturday. I want to know what YOU think – why did Arte walk away from $3 BILLION, a $2.8 billion profit? Inquiring minds…

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at vernpnelson@gmail.com, or 714-235-VERN.