Ex-director of Coliseum Authority takes plea deal in stadium naming rights case; avoids jail time

OAKLAND — Former Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben, who was criminally charged with violating state law by seeking payment from RingCentral for negotiating a stadium naming rights contract, took a plea deal on Tuesday and by doing so avoided trial and possible jail time.

McKibben pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of violating a state conflict-of-interest law. In exchange for his plea, Alameda County prosecutors tossed out a felony count of violating that same law.

Under the deal, McKibben will serve three years probation and take an ethics course. Alameda County Judge Kevin Murphy in December will decide how much McKibben should pay the stadium authority. The maximum fine is $10,000.

McKibben’s attorney said the plea agreement left a “sour taste” in McKibben’s mouth, but it was time to move on from an ordeal that ended his time as the head of the authority overseeing operations at the publicly-owned Coliseum complex, which includes the A’s stadium and Oakland Arena.

Prosecutors alleged McKibben violated Government Code 1090 because he sought a $50,000 payment from RingCentral, as part of a $3 million deal to rename the ballpark “RingCentral Coliseum.”

That section of the government code prohibits public officials from having a financial interest in contracts made by them in their official capacity. In this case, the public official was McKibben, who sought payment from RingCentral while working for the stadium authority owned by the city of Oakland and Alameda County.

McKibben resigned as the authority’s executive director in August 2019, after the authority board and attorneys representing the city and county became aware of the potential conflict of interest. The attorneys later notified the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, which opened a criminal investigation.

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McKibben’s attorney, Michael Rains, said the plea deal “was the right thing to do to avoid the expense of a trial.” Although McKibben sent three invoices seeking $50,000, he never received a “nickel” from RingCentral, Rains said.

“Scott is not overly happy about the way things went there (at the JPA),” Rains said. “He thinks frankly he wasn’t treated fair there but he’s beyond that.”

McKibben had led the Coliseum Authority since 2015, a tumultuous time during which Oakland was losing the Warriors to San Francisco and negotiating to keep the Raiders from moving elsewhere.

After leaving the authority, McKibben became president of the Oakland Panthers, a new professional indoor football team. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Indoor Football League canceled the 2020 season and last month the Panthers announced they would not play in 2021 because of COVID-19 concerns.

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Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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