The Seattle labor union lawsuit against a plan to build an arena south of that city's downtown is headed back to court - adding at least a bit of renewed uncertainty to Seattle's efforts to buy the Sacramento Kings.
An attorney for the Seattle International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 19 said today he will file an appeal tomorrow of a judge's Feb. 22 ruling that nullified the anti-arena lawsuit out.
The union opposes the plan for an arena in an industrial and port area, fearing it will eliminated jobs and industries in that area. It contends in its lawsuit that the city of Seattle and King County unlawfully committed to a plan to build the arena at that site prior to studying alternative sites. The suit seeks to nullify the arena financing "memorandum of understanding" between city, county and the private group, led by hedge fund manager Chris Hansen.
King County Superior Court Judge Douglass North threw the suit out two weeks ago, saying the memorandum provided a framework for an arena plan, but did not commit the city and county to building the arena at the chosen site.
Union attorney Peter Goldman said he believes the judge was mistaken, and underestimated the importance of the memorandum in pinpointing the south of downtown site.
"(The memorandum) allows Hansen to go to the NBA and say give me the Kings, I have an arena" while telling Seattle residents and courts that no official arena site has been chosen, Goldman argued.
The Hansen group has a tentative agreement to buy a controlling share of the Kings from its current managing partners, the Maloof family. The NBA board of governors is expected to vote on April 18 on whether to approve that sale. NBA officials have said they want a solid arena deal in place.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has launched an effort to keep the team here. Last week, a group lead by 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and grocery magnate Ron Burkle submitted a bid to buy the team and keep it in Sacramento. That group also proposes to build a new arena. Financing for that arena is being negotiated.
Read more articles by Tony Bizjak
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