Marcos Breton: If an arena vote happens in Sacramento, we can thank a sleazy Seattle billionaire

Published: Tuesday, Sep. 17, 2013 - 9:17 pm
Last Modified: Monday, Sep. 23, 2013 - 8:09 am

There are certain terms that fit Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen to a T. But the best ones are not fit for a family newspaper.

In a perfect world, Hansen – who tried to buy the Kings, lost that bid and then donated $100,000 to undermine the arena effort here – will pay a price that is most hurtful to his outsized ego and staggering sense of entitlement.

In a perfect world, the NBA tells Hansen:

“Little fella, we told you if you behaved and kissed our rings, we would give you your NBA team in Seattle in due time. But, no. You had to give $100,000 to collect signatures that would force a public vote on an arena in Sacramento.

“When you did that, you weren’t messing with the new Kings ownership group. You were messing with us. If you didn’t give that money, the locals in Sacramento would never collect enough signatures on their own to force an arena referendum. They had nothing but a folding table at the farmers market until you stepped in.

“Now you have nothing but our solemn promise that we will approve a new NBA team in Seattle on the 33rd of Never. We suggest you call the National Hockey League.”

I honestly don’t care if Seattle ever gets an NBA team. But I do hope Hansen is forever frustrated in his bid to be an NBA boss for the smarmy stunt he pulled in Sacramento. Here is a guy who opposes a public vote on the arena he wants to build in Seattle, but essentially finances one in Sacramento – all because he got his fancy pants in a bunch at being passed over for the Kings.

The signatures his money bought – around 18,000 of them – are now apparently in the hands of locals who want an arena vote. Without them, the locals have around 3,000 signatures, maybe a little more, but nowhere near the 22,000 they need to qualify an arena vote for the June ballot.

That’s why arena opponents made a gleeful announcement Tuesday that they had landed Hansen’s mother lode of signatures. They’re in business. And that announcement was followed by more Hansen buffoonery.

In his public statement on the issue Tuesday, Hansen starts by saying he “inadvertently” funded the arena referendum effort. Then he said he decided to contribute to the effort before the NBA made its decision to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

How can you “inadvertently” fund an effort you consciously decided to fund?

He says his money was used without his knowledge to collect signatures. “It was never my intent to support the qualification of the measure,” Hansen said.

(So what was his intent?)

Hansen then asks the arena referendum group here to give his signatures back or to destroy them. “Please do the right thing,” he says.

And with that, the time for comic relief is over. With any luck, it’s time for Hansen to violently crash with the cold shoulder of the NBA – forever.

Meanwhile, a public vote on the Kings arena could very well happen. It’s possible that more comedy lies ahead, given the goofy cast of players.

But if an arena vote is meant to be, then bring it on. This is going to be good.


Call The Bee’s Marcos Breton, (916) 321-1096. Follow him on Twitter: @marcosbreton

Read more articles by Marcos Breton



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