Teacher union PAC files lawsuit challenging public financing for Oakland A’s stadium
A PAC associated with a state teachers' union has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of public funding for a stadium deal that would bring the Oakland A’s to Las Vegas — making it the union’s second front in opposing the proposed public dollars for the team’s relocation.
The lawsuit filed Monday by the Nevada State Education Association’s Strong Public Schools PAC in Carson City’s First Judicial Court says that a law passed last year in a special session providing up to $380 million in taxpayer funds to construct a baseball stadium in Las Vegas violates the Nevada Constitution in five ways, including a claim that it would constitute an increase in public revenue but was not passed by the constitutionally required two-thirds majority vote of legislators. Two additional plaintiffs are included in the lawsuit — union President Vicki Kreidel and former Clark County Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani. Giunchigliani was the former head of the NSEA and the county union, the Clark County Education Association.
The lawsuit, which names Gov. Joe Lombardo and Treasurer Zach Conine as defendants, is the second effort by the teachers' union to block the public financing for the Oakland A’s baseball team’s proposed future stadium in Las Vegas. In September, Schools Over Stadiums — a separate union-backed PAC — filed a ballot petition that would repeal public financing for the stadium. Later that month, two labor leaders filed a challenge to the petition and won an initial victory in court. The union is appealing the decision.
“This litigation continues our work to support public education and oppose the diversion of public money for private or corporate use,” the Strong Public Schools Nevada PAC said in a Monday statement about the lawsuit.
Strong Public Schools Nevada argues in the complaint that the state Constitution requires “a clear legislative intent authorizing the expenditure and a maximum amount set aside for a payment of claims.” Attorneys argue that because the law establishing the public financing apparatus allows the state treasurer to draw unspecified amounts of money to support Clark County’s bond debt it violates the Constitution.
Attorneys also argued that the law also violates the Constitution because it was “tantamount to a local law” where a general law could have been made applicable, that the public financing structure of the deal “impermissibly results in public debt” without a way to repay it and the pledge of taxes for bond repayment requires the state to assume Clark County’s debt.
This story was updated on 2/5/2024 at 5:56 to indicate that Chris Giunchigliani was the former head of the NSEA and the Clark County Education Association.