Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson Called Out ‘Disingenuous’ Kings Owners

by April 04, 2012
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Mayor KJ is not impressed with the Maloofs’ latest antics, which nearly derailed the new arena deal for the Sacramento Kings, before the NBA stepped in. Things have turned ugly between the Kings and the city of Sacramento, and Johnson was highly critical of the Kings’ owners. From the Sac Bee: “Mayor Kevin Johnson lashed out at the Maloof family [Tuesday], calling their statements that the family never agreed to pay for pre-development costs of a new arena ‘disingenuous.’ Hours before the City Council is expected to approve the start of crucial pre-development work on the $391 million arena, the mayor accused the Maloofs of ‘tactics and antics that are not becoming of a true partnership.’ ‘We as a city can’t be jerked around,’ he said. ‘We can’t keep having this issue flare up.’ Johnson then indicated he wants the issue resolved by next week. The NBA team owners will meet in New York next week, when league Commissioner David Stern is expected to raise the matter of the Maloofs’ pre-development contribution. Asked if the city would seek new ownership for the team should the Maloofs continue to balk in New York, the mayor said, ‘We’re not going to be a city that sits on its hands.’ ‘Do we need to look at contingency plans? Absolutely,’ he said. While the mayor would not elaborate, billionaire Ron Burkle has expressed interest in purchasing the Kings. The Maloofs, however, have insisted they have no intention of selling.’ Maloof spokesman Eric Rose issued a statement Tuesday: ‘As we have said numerous times, the Kings long-standing position has been that the team would be a tenant in an arena owned by the city and managed by AEG. Pre-development costs are not the responsibility of the tenant. Moreover, the City had asked the Kings to reimburse AEG for their contribution and we find that extremely unfair. We do not understand how the city and the Mayor could claim that are unaware of our position. The Kings commitment to the arena construction has not changed. We do not understand Mayor Johnson’s frustration and instead of projecting, we hope that the Mayor and city leaders will address the various issues that we have brought to their attention. We need the City to demonstrate to us that they can meet their own timeline of having a new arena built in time for the 2015 basketball season.’ In a letter to Sacramento city officials Monday, however, an attorney for the Maloofs said the team owners have serious doubts whether the city can succeed in getting a downtown arena built by September 2015, the opening date the NBA has said it wants.”