At 9:30 this morning, a hearing is scheduled in Tarrant County District Court in the matter of Rangers Baseball Express, LLC v. Ballpark Realty Estate L.P. -- otherwise known as the battle over close to 12,000 parking spots around the Ballpark in Arlington. To recap, quickly: The Rangers' current ownership says Hicks is taking back spots they believed their had control over through the 2011 season; they insist Hicks's new rental rate of $3.5 million will stick it to fans who've been promised $5 to $10 spots.
Hicks responds today via the courthouse docs you'll find on the other side -- which you can read along with Nolan Ryan, who should be getting his copy right ... about ... now. Says the former owner, he's made repeated "commercially reasonable efforts to negotiate" a deal that gives the team control of the spots" at a "fair market value." And, says the response, negotiations with the Rangers had been going reasonably well -- so much so that on March 29, Hicks says he agreed to enter into an interim arrangement that would have given the team "the right to operate the Property 'in a manner consistent with past practices' while the parties were conducting lease negotiations."
The filing follows, and it's an interesting read -- complete with letters from Hicks's attorneys to, among others, the city of Arlington. In a letter dated March 30, Baseball Realty Estate promises the city that "the prices for cash parking passes will generally be the same as the prices advertised by the Texas Rangers before the state of the season." Generally, not exactly. Which is probably why there's a 9:30 hearing this morning.
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Update at 10:52 a.m.: The judge granted the Rangers' request for a temporary restraining order and has scheduled another hearing on April 28. In the meantime, both parties will continue their negotiations. Says Lisa LeMaster, Hicks's spokesperson, "The reality is we all wanted the same thing: to keep working toward an agreement with zero impact on the fans."