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Texas Rangers, Tom Hicks Settle Dispute Over Ballpark Parking. For This Season, Anyway.

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Two weeks back it came to light that the current owners of the Texas Rangers were feuding with the former owner of the Texas Rangers over some 12,000 parking spots around the Ballpark in Arlington. To recap, quickly: Ray Davis and Bob Simpson's Rangers Baseball Express, LLC took Hicks's Ballpark Real Estate L.P. to court, arguing that Hicks intended to seize spots they believed they had control over through the 2011 season with the intention of jacking up rent by a few million. Which would have made the Rangers look bad, since they'd promised fans they'd pay no more than $5 to $10 for those patches of concrete through the new season.

There was a hearing on the matter the 14th, at which time the parties were told to try to sort it out and meet back in a Fort Worth courtroom on April 28, which is tomorrow. But Lisa LeMaster, Hicks's spokesperson, just sent word: The two parties will keep negotiating, but for the rest of 2011, at least, Nolan Ryan and his team are in control of the parking situation. Per the announcement, "The two groups intend to present an agreed order to a Tarrant County Court today that grants RBE the right to operate and set parking rates on the property this year."

Says LeMaster, "For the moment, I think everyone is relieved to get out of the courtroom and get back to a focus on baseball. Despite some of the assertions made by attorneys, this is a property rights issue, not a parking rates issue. Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan have a positive relationship; they will get this to a positive conclusion."

Let's go to the announcement. Slide, damn it, slide.

Ballpark parking operation issues resolved for 2011 season

Rangers and Hicks' real estate company to continue negotiations on financial reimbursement for use of property owned or controlled by former team owner

Rangers Baseball Express (RBE), the company that owns the Texas Rangers Baseball Club and Ballpark Real Estate LP (BRE), the company that owns or controls some 154 acres around Rangers Ballpark, have come to an agreement about the operation of the parking lots for baseball games during the 2011 season. The two groups intend to present an agreed order to a Tarrant County Court today that grants RBE the right to operate and set parking rates on the property this year.

The two groups have not yet negotiated the financial terms for the use of the property, but the agreed order effectively gives them additional time to accomplish that goal. If they cannot come to an agreement, it's possible a trial could be held to resolve both the operational and the financial use agreements.

"For the moment," said Lisa LeMaster, spokesperson for BRE, "I think everyone is relieved to get out of the courtroom and get back to a focus on baseball. Despite some of the assertions made by attorneys, this is a property rights issue, not a parking rates issue. Tom Hicks and Nolan Ryan have a positive relationship; they will get this to a positive conclusion."

Baseball Real Estate also filed a response to the original claims made by the Rangers in court filings two weeks ago, and BRE submitted a Counterclaim that once again asserts the company's rights to receive a "commercially reasonable rate" for the use of its property for Rangers games.

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