The city of Sacramento and a group of citizens suing to block the financing for the new Sacramento Kings arena expect the trial to take two weeks.
Lawyers for both sides, at a pretrial hearing Friday in Sacramento Superior Court, told Judge Timothy Frawley they expect the case to be completed in early July. The trial is scheduled to begin June 22 and will be heard by the judge without a jury.
Three citizens – Isaac Gonzalez, Julian Camacho and James Cathcart – say the city’s $255 million subsidy for the arena represents a “fraud on the public” and is an illegal waste of taxpayer dollars. Among other things, they say the city is giving the Kings a “secret subsidy” worth tens of millions of dollars and the true public contribution goes well beyond the stated $255 million.
The city and the Kings have said the lawsuit has no merit. At the same time, they’re eager to resolve the suit quickly because it is possible that interest rates could begin rising later this year, escalating the city’s borrowing costs.
The city remains “open to possible settlement,” City Attorney James Sanchez said recently. Lawyers for the three citizens have said they’d accept a settlement but only if it includes major revisions to the public subsidy.
To finance the bulk of the subsidy, the city plans to borrow against future parking revenue. The city is also contributing several land parcels to the arena’s development team.
The overall arena project is expected to cost $477 million and is scheduled to be completed in October 2016.