From: The Mercury News
By: Angela Ruggiero, 1/10/2020
A plea deal could be in the works for former Coliseum Authority Executive Director Scott McKibben, his attorney said Friday at the first court appearance for his client's conflict-of-interest charges.
McKibben was charged last month for alleged violations of state conflict-of-interest laws for seeking a $50,000 fee in helping negotiate a stadium's naming rights at the home of the A's and formerly the Raiders.
"This has obviously been a shock and an embarrassment to Scott, and he is truly sorry to be in this position," said his well-known defense attorney Michael Rains after Friday's arraignment.
Prosecutors charged McKibben with one felony and one misdemeanor conflict-of-interest violations related to the $3 million deal with RingCentral. As head of the public agency negotiating the deal, McKibben is accused of violating government codes that prohibit public officials from having a financial interest in contracts made by them in their official capacity. He could face time behind bars, and be prohibited from holding a public office if convicted of the charges.
McKibben's attorney told the media Friday that in retrospect, there could have been better communication between McKibben and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board when he was negotiating the naming deal. Rains is a prominent and well-known attorney, having represented former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle who was convicted of the involuntary manslaughter of Oscar Grant, one of the Oakland police officers in what became known as "the Riders" case and even former Giants slugger Barry Bonds.
McKibben did not enter a plea deal Friday, as Rains indicated he anticipates working out a deal with the prosecution before his next appearance on Feb. 11. His attorney indicated they have received more than 1,200 pages of evidence in the case, including 30 interviews, which they are reviewing.
"The ideal resolution would undoubtedly involve some indication from Scott that in retrospect, as he looks back at the deal, he could have and should have done some things different than he did," Rains said.
Rains said McKibben could have told the authority that he was negotiating with RingCentral as an independent contractor, since it was outside of his normal scope of work as the executive director; and that RingCentral would anticipate paying him if a deal was made.
According to court documents, the stadium authority board did not know McKibben had requested a commission fee when it approved the contract on May 31. Now, the board made up of Oakland council members and Alameda County supervisors is working to renegotiate the deal.
After the board approved the deal, RingCentral asked McKibben to send them invoices.
"They called him," Rains said. He indicated that RingCentral always knew they were going to pay McKibben if there was a deal, and were prepared to do so until
Three invoices obtained by this newspaper, show McKibben sent two on Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority letterhead and signed them. A third invoice only listed his name and home address in Pleasanton.
Rains pointed out that another company that was originally supposed to handle the naming rights negotiations but backed out, would have charged the Coliseum Authority a $250,000 fee.
McKibben is now president at the Oakland Panthers, a professional indoor football team. The team is co-owned by Oakland native and former NFL star Marshawn Lynch, and Ray Choi, who owns two other teams in the indoor league.
McKibben took the helm of the Coliseum Authority in 2015, eventually earning $300,000 a year. He nearly left in 2017 o take a job with Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara but stayed after Alameda County matched the salary and perks he was offered and extended his contract through 2020.
He resigned on Aug. 9. A week later, the Alameda County's District Attorney's Office began its investigation.
He previously worked as a newspaper executive, including a stint in the 1990s as president and published of the Alameda Newspaper Group, which operated the Oakland Tribune and other Bay Area papers at the time. He became executive director of the Tournament of Roses and the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena in 2009, and later served as CEO of the A-11 Football League, an alternative to the NFL.