SoFi Stadium owner Stan Kroenke saw his multi billion dollar project delayed due to extensive contamination clean up and filed a lawsuit related to the cleanup. Kroenke’s lawsuit stems from claims of arsenic levels “dozens of times higher” in certain areas of the project along with unspecified levels of lead. Instead of suing the city of Inglewood for non-disclosure, he is suing his insurance carrier for failure to pay out on a $5 million policy. Similar claims around contaminated land surround a development project in the nearby city of Carson.
Both cities waged media campaigns to convince the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders to relocate to their city. The Raiders ended up going to Las Vegas and the Rams and Chargers went to Inglewood.
The similarities in both Carson and Inglewood were both proposed NFL sites were on toxic land. Historically, Carson was a dump and the former Hollywood Race Track was built on top of an abandoned portion of the Inglewood Oil Field.
It is unknown whether Carson Mayor Albert Robles fully disclosed the toxicity of the land to mall developers, as he did with local media during the city’s push for the NFL stadium, however, it is highly likely the actual extent of the contamination was not disclosed in order to pass the costs off to someone other than the city.
“Most of that site was a former landfill. It’s contaminated land,” said Robles. “There is a strip, about 11 acres, that was never a landfill.”
With water acquifers under the soil it is nearly impossible for the contamination to not have penetrated the entire area.
Ask the poor residents at the former Ujima Village housing development, which was also built atop a former abandoned oil field, if the contamination at the site didn’t reach their housing complex, where there was “allegedly” no oil activity.
Simon Property Group and Macerich are suing the city for negligence and breach of contract for failure to pay $27 million towards clean up costs, despite the city unanimously approving the issuance of bonds, specifically related to the clean up on May 5, 2015.
Carson officials commenced a ceremonial groundbreaking of the project last August. But according to the lawsuit, the city told developers in October they had blown through their project money.
“Defendants failed to employ a project management and financial control process sufficient for a project of this magnitude (or any magnitude), and to ensure that that they would have the sufficient funds to complete the required remediation and infrastructure work,” the lawsuit reads.
Did the city spend the cleanup money on expenditures related to the general fund?
Mayor Robles was not available for comment.