OAKLAND -- The Oakland A's stadium saga took a bizarre turn Wednesday when team President Mike Crowley aborted talks aimed at keeping the team at O.co Coliseum through 2024 just one hour after an Alameda County leader declared that the A's were in discussions to build a new ballpark in Oakland.

Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley, who heads the board that oversees the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum complex, said the board was awaiting a proposal from the A's to acquire land rights for a new baseball stadium adjacent to their current home.

"The A's are reviewing financials and are determining whether they can put together a deal on the land," Miley said.

O.co Coliseum, named McAfee Coliseum at the time, and Oracle Arena, 2007.   (Jane Tyska/Staff Archives)
O.co Coliseum, named McAfee Coliseum at the time, and Oracle Arena, 2007. (Jane Tyska/Staff Archives)

Miley's statement, repeated during an afternoon news conference, was the first pronouncement that the A's are seriously exploring building a stadium in Oakland after being rebuffed in their drive to move to San Jose.

Miley also became the first East Bay political leader to open the door for some public money for stadium construction.

A's co-owner Lew Wolff declined Wednesday to discuss Miley's comments regarding a new ballpark in Oakland.

Instead, the team focused on the supervisor's claim that the A's initial offer for a 10-year lease extension would have amounted to a $3.5 million annual public subsidy.

Crowley replied in an email that the team had proposed paying higher rent and pumping at least $10 million into the stadium. "We have nothing additional to offer, and as a result, there will be no further negotiations," he wrote.

Miley said the Coliseum board might accept less advantageous lease terms if the A's made a land proposal. But Wolff responded in an interview that the team was "not willing to make the lease extension contingent on buying the land or guaranteeing the building of a stadium."

The spat comes as both sides seek leverage as they negotiate the lease extension. The Coliseum board, aware that the A's options are limited, appears to be pushing the team for movement toward construction of a new stadium, while the A's want to first finalize a the lease deal.

Tensions rose late Tuesday when the board released a statement announcing it had made a counter-offer to the A's proposal for a 10-year lease extension.

The A's quickly rejected the deal and sent out a second email directing reporters to a blog post that was highly critical of Mayor Jean Quan's position that the Coliseum board shouldn't approve a lease extension unless the A's agree to build a ballpark in Oakland.

"It's been a really crazy morning and crazy night," said Jorge Leon, an A's fan and member of the group Baseball Oakland. "It's really frustrating from a fan's point of view to hear these things when the A's are doing so well. Both sides should handle this behind closed doors."

This has been a tough week for Oakland sports fans. On Monday, the Golden State Warriors announced that they had purchased land for a new arena in San Francisco. Hours later, the Oakland Raiders failed to submit a letter of interest to participate in a city-led bid to redevelop the 132-acre Coliseum complex into a sports and entertainment center.

While the Raiders' interest in the Coliseum City development is now in doubt, it appeared the A's might be reconsidering a separate stadium deal at the Coliseum site after two failed attempts to leave.

Nate Miley,  2009. (Bay Area News Group)
Nate Miley, 2009. (Bay Area News Group)

After signing a short-term lease extension last year that runs through the 2015 season, Wolff raised the possibility for the first time in nearly a decade that a privately financed ballpark might be feasible on the Coliseum site.

The most recent lease deal also committed the team and the Coliseum board to go to arbitration over the team's contention that it didn't have to hand over about $5 million in parking tax proceeds.

Miley on Wednesday said the A's wanted to keep those proceeds under the lease extension.

The $5 million could be used for public safety or affordable housing, Miley said. "We just can't walk away from that."

Miley said that Alameda County might consider selling its portion of the Coliseum site if it would help secure a stadium deal. He also said the Coliseum board would consider tearing down Oracle Arena after the Warriors leave if it could help keep the A's and Raiders at the site.

Miley also broached the potential of using public funds to help build new stadiums for the A's and Raiders at the Coliseum site. That could be a tough sell given that Oakland and Alameda taxpayers are still on the hook for nearly $200 million in bonds used to renovate the facilities in the mid-1990s.

"It could involve some public money," Miley said. "We're waiting for the A's to give us a proposal. If they give us a proposal, we'll be able to maybe at some point give you some more details on that, but right now we're waiting for a proposal."

Contact Matthew Artz at 510-208-5435.