Kings, Steinberg jump into arena litigation

01/31/2014 6:00 PM

10/06/2014 5:02 PM

The Sacramento Kings and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg on Friday jumped into the lawsuit over the proposed vote on the team’s new downtown arena.

The4000, a political action committee set up by the Kings and Mayor Kevin Johnson, filed paperwork to intervene in support of city officials, who were sued earlier this week by Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork and Voters for a Fair Arena Deal.

The Kings and Steinberg filed paperwork in support of the group’s intervention.

STOP and the Voters group sued the city after City Clerk Shirley Concolino rejected their petitions demanding a public vote in June on sports subsidies such as the $258 million the city plans to contribute to the arena project. Although the petitions had enough signatures to qualify the issue for the ballot, Concolino said they were legally flawed because of wording problems. The lawsuit seeks to overturn her decision and have the subsidy issue put on the June ballot.

Geraldine Guzman, the Kings’ director of finance, said in a court filing that the team has already spent more than $45 million on developing the arena, giving them a right to intervene in the case. The sum includes $36 million to buy the arena site at Downtown Plaza and $5 million in pre-development costs. The team expects to spend at least $189 million on building the arena and hundreds of millions of dollars more on surrounding development.

She noted that the Kings are “the owner of the real property at the heart of the project at issue in this lawsuit.”

As intervenors, the4000 would be allowed to make legal arguments in the case.

Steinberg, D-Sacramento, is seeking the right to intervene as author of legislation helping to streamline the development and construction process.

A preliminary hearing in the lawsuit is set for next Tuesday at 9 a.m. before Judge Michael Kenny.

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