Kings Arena Plan Scores Key Legal Victory

A Sacramento Superior Court judge tossed out a lawsuit that two anti-arena groups had brought against the city after it rejected a petition to put public arena funding up for a vote, report Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis of The Sacramento Bee. An official with one of the groups says there will be no appeal, Lillis and Kasler write in a separate story, likely ending any serious threat to the beginning of construction on a $448MM new home for the Kings.

The team is facing a league-imposed 2017 deadline to open a new building. The NBA has threatened to strip the Kings from principal owner Vivek Ranadive and his partners if they don’t complete the project on schedule, and the league has also mandated that the team show timely progress. However, commissioner Adam Silver recently visited Sacramento and expressed supreme confidence in the team’s ability to deliver an arena ahead of the deadline.

There are other, less threatening legal hurdles still in place, as Kasler and Lillis explain. Many of the same arena opponents have filed a lawsuit claiming the city distorted the actual value of its arena subsidy, which the city maintains is $258MM. The same judge will rule on that case. The city must also certify an environmental impact report, and that could prompt additional legal challenges. Sacramento is also involved in an eminent domain lawsuit over a portion of the land upon which the arena is to be built. Construction is set to begin in the fall, assuming none of these obstacles cause a delay.

Chris Hansen, the principal investor behind Seattle’s effort to land the Kings last year, made a $100K contribution to the anti-arena group’s petition drive. He implored the arena opponents not to use the signatures gathered with the help of his money after his secret donation became public, but those signatures were nonetheless among those submitted to the city.

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