Tag Archives: rooftop owners

Judge denies rooftop owners’ request to stop installation of Wrigley signs

(Chicago)  In a win for the Cubs, a federal court judge on Thursday refused to grant a request by the owners of a pair of Wrigley Field rooftops to stop the team’s installation of outfield signs that would block their valuable view.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Kendall ruled that the “vague possibility” rooftop owners could be injured by the Cubs installation of the signs isn’t enough to issue a restraining order against the team, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.

During a four-hour hearing on Wednesday, lawyers for the two rooftop businesses, Skybox and the Lakeview Baseball Club, reiterated their arguments that the Cubs’ plans violate both a 2004 revenue sharing agreement they signed with the rooftop owners, and federal anti-trust laws.

They argued to the judge that if she didn’t issue a temporary restraining order banning the Cubs from installing the signs until a fuller hearing of the issue next month, the rooftop businesses will not be able to sell tickets to corporate clients who plan events months in advance, and that they therefore will not survive.

“Without the views they have nothing to sell,” attorney Thomas Lombardo said.

But lawyers for the Cubs repeated their arguments that the Cubs have the right to install the signs, and that the rooftops could continue to argue their case in court while the signs are installed.

Cubs attorney Andrew Kassof denied the Cubs were attempting to create an illegal monopoly over rooftop pricing, telling the judge that the “the point is to renovate Wrigley Field to generate revenues to make a better product, get better players on the field and win a World Series.”


© Copyright 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC

Rooftop owners’ suit accuses Cubs of bad faith in Wrigley redevelopment

(Chicago)  The Chicago Cubs played hardball with Wrigley Field rooftop owners — blocking the historic ballpark views of owners who refused to sell up, while clearing the sightlines from rooftops the Cubs were able to purchase, a lawsuit filed Thursday alleges.

The latest development in the long-running legal battle over the Cubs’ city-backed stadium improvement plan centers on six new outfield signs, the Sun-Times is reporting. The Cubs say their plans were designed to score a federal tax credit worth up to $75 million.

But the rooftop owners allege the Ricketts family had ulterior motives when it last year asked Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s handpicked Chicago Commission on Landmarks to approve changes to their plan for signs and a jumbotron.

“Instead of substantively modifying the outfield sign plan, the Cubs reconfigured the… signs so as to completely block the views of the Rooftops the Cubs were unable to purchase,” the owners allege in the suit against the City of Chicago.

The new sign arrangement shafts rooftop owners who weren’t willing to sell, but will “restore the views of the Rooftops the Cubs contracted to purchase,” say the owners, who want a Cook County Judge to stop the signs from going up.

Cubs spokesman Julian Green declined to comment on the suit. A spokesman for the city was not immediately able to comment.

The organization has been accused of bullying rooftop owners ever since the original $375 million stadium improvement plan was approved by the landmark commission in July.

During a meeting last month at which changes to that original plan were approved, Acting Landmarks Commission Chairman Jim Houlihan admonished team officials, warning them not to engage in “bullying tactics.” At the time, Green, the Cubs’ spokesman, denied the charges.

Houlihan said at the time, “The issue was raised as to whether the location of signage was being used in some of the negotiations with the rooftops. It is not directly a part of our review.

“It would be unfortunate if there were bullying tactics being used. And it would be a long-term mistake for the Cubs. The Cubs’ success is, in great part, its relationship to that neighborhood.”

An earlier lawsuit, filed in August, said much the same. It accused the team of using strong-arm tactics to coerce owners into selling their businesses at fire-sale prices.


© Copyright 2015 Sun-Times Media, LLC