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Arena Subsidy Opponents Claim Mounting Evidence Against City

Arena Subsidy Opponents Claim Mounting Evidence Against City

Opponents of Sacramento's arena subsidy say they have mounting evidence of secret, backdoor dealings between top city officials and the Kings' new ownership group. In a lawsuit, local attorney Patrick Soluri has alleged that the $258 million subsidy that appears on a term sheet is in fact, much higher. He says "sweeteners" were added behind-the-scenes and that a new deposition from Councilman Kevin McCarty helps proves it.

"There is now clear communication from the investor group asking for a subsidy for the purchase of the Kings franchise. They clearly articulated that they felt they were overpaying for the team and that they needed the city to make up the difference," Soluri told KFBK.

In sworn testimony, McCarty states the teams' investors were asking for $125 million more than the city was willing or able to offer and apparently stormed out of a meeting when the request was denied. Soluri maintains that land, parking spaces and billboards were then added into the deal at prices that were undervalued or not valued at all.

"My understanding is that...they put a deal together with pieces - city assets above the $258 million. And in their characterization of the deal to me...this is what needed to get done in order for the parties to come to an agreement...sweeteners to make it work for both parties," McCarty testified.

Soluri says the use of public assets to "make up the difference" in the purchase of the team - and not aid in arena construction - amounts to fraud and a betrayal of public trust. City officials have said they believe their land valuations are solid, or even overstated given a sluggish real estate market. Values may not have been placed on parking spaces given the lack of arena designs at that point and the billboard sites also currently sit vacant.

KFBK was one of three media outlets to obtain a copy of Councilman McCarty's deposition and he could not be reached for comment on Thursday. City officials make it a point not to comment on pending litigation. Soluri says he's not done with depositions and will seek to get more evidence before a judge in the coming months.

 

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