The Chicago Cubs and the Wrigley Rooftops Association have been butting heads for years in terms of the proposed Wrigley Renovations.
Reports came out earlier today that the Cubs intended on putting up their billboard with or without the rooftops consent. This led to the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association giving the go ahead to their lawyers to proceed with a legal battle, one they feel they will likely win, based on the wording of the 20 year contract signed between the Cubs and the rooftops back in 2004.
Because no one had access to the contract, no one really had much of an idea as to what the contract allowed, and what was not allowed. That is however, until just now. Thanks to Comcast Sports Net and WGN Radio reporter David Kaplan, we now know exactly what the wording of the contract is. Kaplan was gracious enough to share with all of us what the contract said.
Like with everything else in life, the battle of who is right and who is wrong comes down to interpretation. But based on one specific article in the contract, I think the Cubs are well within their rights to do whatever they please with their ballpark, the rooftops rights be damned.
In the contract, Clause 6.6 might be the Cubs window to put this case to bed, without having to fork over a hefty settlement. The clause reads like this.
6.6 The Cubs shall not erect windscreens or other barriers to obstruct the views of the Rooftops, provided however that temporary items such as banners, flags and decorations for special occasions, shall not be considered as having been erected to obstruct views of the Rooftops. Any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities shall not be a violation of this agreement, including this section.
Did you catch the part where the Cubs have the rooftops over the barrel? If not, let me isolate the part for you.
Any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities shall not be a violation of this agreement, including this section.
The Cubs have received Governmental approval for their renovations and expansions a year ago. The Cubs tried to play nice, and allow the rooftop association to bow out gracefully while perhaps making a healthy chunk of change in the process, but they wanted to play hard ball. With this clause written into the contract, I am not so sure the rooftops have a leg to stand on.
If I were Beth Murphy and the Rooftop Association, I would be on the phone right now with Tom Ricketts trying to work out a deal that will allow them to save face.
Perhaps Crane Kenney was not such an idiot when he wrote the deal after all.