The group that wants to buy and move the San Francisco Giants baseball team here has lined up a group of local investors to put up $3 million to $4 million if the sale of the National League team is completed and the move is approved, it was learned yesterday.
Richard Tinkham, attorney for Emil Bernard, a New York investment counselor seeking to move the Giants here, said yesterday that there are seven or eight potential local investors and the number could increase to as many as a dozen.
Tinkham refused to identify any of the persons who would become limited partners in the operation of a team Bernard wants to move here in time for the 1978 season.
Washington has not had a major league baseball team since the Senators moved to Arlington, Tex., following the 1971 season.
Tinkham refused to say whether any of his group's potential investors were associated with abortive attempts to move the San Diego Padres and Oakland A's here.
Bernard is scheduled to meet with officials of an unidentified Chicago bank today to get preliminary approval for a loan that would include the $11 million purchase price of the Giants.
The Bernard group and the D.C. Armory Board agreed Friday to a memorandum outlining terms of a 40-year lease to play in RFK Stadium. Bernard signed the memorandum, but the Amory Board has not.
The Armory Board is awaiting approval by the D.C. corporation counsel's office of the terms of the memorandum, which Tinkham describes as "an agreement to agree" on a lease, should the sale of the team be completed.
The Bernard group has an option to buy 50 per cent of the Giants from Phoenix businessman Bud Herseth for $5.5 million. According to Herseth's interpretation of his partnership with Bob Lurie, such a deal would put Lurie in the position that he would have to buy Herseth's share for $5.5 million or sell Herseth his share.
Lurie repeatedly has said that the Giants will not leave the Bay area, and that his interpretation is that the new buyer becomes his partner.
On Friday, before he left on a two-week vacation cruise in the Caribbean stadium general manager Bob Sigholtz said the Armory Board would not sign the memorandum until the Bernard group provided the Armory Board with an $11 million letter of credit.
A snag appears to have developed, however, because the Chicago bank wants a memorandum signed by both sides before it gives its preliminary approval to the loan.
But, yesterday, Betty Underwood, administrative assistant to Sigholtz and secretary of the D.C. Armory Board, clarified the situation:
If the corporation counsel approves the memorandum and the board goes along with it, they'll give them (the Bernard group) a certain amount of time to get the letter of credit back to the board or else the agreement is canceled."
Underwood would not say how much time the Armory Board would give Bernard.
The signed memorandum on terms for the stadium lease that will be negotiated when and if the Giants get clearance to move here outlines th obligations of the investors and the Armory Board. It is specific in some respects and general in others.
The Bernard group has been negotiating directly and indirectly with the Armory Board for the last 13 months. A source in the D.C. government said the Bernard group made as many as nine stadium lease proposals before Friday's memorandum.
Both sides have refused to disclose specific terms of the memo. But Tinkham indicated the memorandum was more favorable to his group in the early years of the proposed 40-year lease "because we may have to pay $125,000 a year in San Francisco for awhile."
That payment would be compensation for breaking the Giants' lease at Candlestick Park.
"Because of the liability under the lease in San Francisco," Tinkham said in a telephone interview, "investors and leanding agencies want to know if you have relief."
Asked whether that meant the D.C. government would be subsidizing the team's move here, Tinkham said, "Subsidize is not as good word to use."
Before he left Washington for his vacation, Sigholtz said, "There's no question the Armory is going to make a profit (if the deal materializes). The Armory Board cannot legally be in a deficit-spending position."
Tinkham's option expires Jan. 15. If the final approval of the loan does take two to three weeks, as Tinkham maintains it will, the option deadline would present no problem, Tinkham said, because he could get an extension once the bank gives its preliminary approval.
"We've had no discussion about extending the date," said Al Favour, Herseth's attorney in Prescott, Ariz. "We've already granted one 30-day extension . . . He's probably taking too much for granted."