Sacramento, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Ex-Sacramento Kings bidder Chris Hansen was found to have donated $100,000 to a group attempting to block the use of public funds to build a downtown arena for the team.
Documents filed with the California Secretary of State revealed that this transpired on June 21, weeks after Hansen’s bid to buy and relocate the Sacramento Kings to Seattle failed.
Los Angeles law firm of Loeb & Loeb received the donation and secretly funneled $80,000 to a group gathering signatures to force a public vote on the arena plan, which involves $258 million in public money out of the total cost pegged at $448 million.
The Sacramento Bee first reported the donation, but the donor’s identity was kept secret until California’s Fair Political Practices Commission sued the law firm Loeb & Loeba to name him publicly.
New Kings owner Vivek Ranadive had made a deal with Sacramento officials to build the new arena without a public vote, a factor that pushed NBA owners to vote against Hansen’s bid. They are being held to a timetable by the NBA to complete the arena by the 2016-17 season.
If arena plans don’t push through, there is a chance the league’s owners would reconsider relocation.
A previous deal to build the Kings an arena in Sacramento collapsed in 2012.
Hansen said he “made a mistake” and “regretted” giving Loeb & Loeb the $100,000. He also committed to the city of Sacramento and Kings fans not to be involved in their arena efforts in the future.”
A group named the Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP), which organized a signature drive said it wasn’t aware of Hansen’s aid.
STOP spokesman John Hyde said the group has more than half of the 22,000 signatures needed to get the issue on the ballot, and it will continue to collect them independently before a December deadline.
There is also a lawsuit that has been filed against the arena project over the land where the city plans to construct the arena.