Wrigley Field Restoration Update: Rooftops Preparing for Legal Action

Crain’s Chicago Business spoke Monday with the lawyer that will represent the Wrigleyville Rooftop Association in its lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs. Charles Tompkins accused Tom Ricketts “of having buyer’s remorse and asserted that’s no good reason for the team to break a long-term revenue-sharing deal” with the rooftops according to the report from Greg Hinz.

Charles Tompkins told Hinz “court action would be filed” against the Cubs for the team’s plans to install signs that could block the views of the rooftops “any day now.”

The Cubs were expecting to meet with the Landmarks Commission on Thursday. Danny Ecker reported Monday that Wrigley Field is not on the June 5 Landmarks agenda.

The rooftops recently retained Charles Tompkins and he “made his view clear that the rooftops and not the team are the offended party in the continuing Wrigley rebuild drama.” Tomkins gave Hinz every indication that is the approach he will take with the court action, which could begin “within days.”

The Wrigleyville Rooftop Association has a contract with the team that does not expire for another nine years. The team receives $3-4 million per year from the rooftops, which represents 17 percent of their gross income. Tompkins explained to Hinz, that the Cubs are receiving a lot of money from the rooftops and “they paid it for the right not to have their views blocked for 20 years.” Tompkins added that no one would agree to a contract with an out in it like the one the Cubs appear to have, or “just change their mind.” The rooftops “relied on that contract in rebuilding and renovating their property to develop their businesses” and there has been $50 million invested since the contract was agreed upon “with much ot the money borrowed in mortgages.”

The rooftops could argue that the Cubs, “with a reported value of $1 billion and an operating inclome of $32 million,” could pay for the Wrigley Field project “without battering around the rooftops.”

Greg Hinz addressed the contract with Charles Tompkins and asked him directly about the language in the contract that gives the Cubs the clearance to block the rooftops’ views “if it comes by expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities.” Tompkins explained “language refers to then-pending expansion of the bleachers, not more ad signs. And said, “Where a contract is ambiguous, you read it in context. All the parties understood that the expansion being referenced was that of the bleachers.”

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