Maloof Attorneys Funding Anti-Arena Effort?

The head of a company that organizes grassroots political campaigns claims that the law firm that represented the Maloof family, former owners of the Kings, provided $80K to fund an ongoing petition effort against a new arena in Sacramento, report Ryan Lillis, Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee. The league has set deadlines for the Kings and the city to progress toward a new building, with the threat that the NBA could take the club away from the new ownership of Vivek Ranadive and company, and perhaps move the Kings to another city.

Paul Olson, the head of Olson Campaigns, said today in a statement that the firm of Loeb & Loeb funneled the money through a political consultant based in Orange County, California. Loeb & Loeb represented the Maloofs when they were attempting to sell the team earlier this year to Chris Hansen, Steve Ballmer, and other investors who wanted to move the Kings to Seattle.

Olson said his company has severed ties with the petition effort, which is attempting to force a public vote on city funding for the arena project. George Maloof denies any connection between his family and the petition drive.

"I know nothing about it. Zero," he said. "I just called them (Loeb & Loeb), just now. This is the first I heard of it. They said it was for another client."

The California Fair Political Practices commission is investigating the funding of the petition effort, in response to allegations that the funding is not being properly reported to state elections officials. California Secretary of State records show that Loeb & Loeb have reported no expenditures on the signature drive.

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