AT 6 P.M. ON Wednesday, April 19, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao was driving home from an event for the opening of a local business when she received a call from A's president Dave Kaval.
"Hey, just a heads-up," Thao recalls Kaval saying. "Somebody leaked to the press that we have a binding deal with Vegas."
Thao was stunned. Since taking office in January, she and her staff had picked up where previous mayor Libby Schaaf left off, negotiating with A's owner John Fisher to facilitate a massive, city-altering $12 billion project for a ballpark village on 55 acres along the waterfront at Howard Terminal.