City seeks dismissal of lawsuit over arena deal

05/20/2014 10:53 AM

05/20/2014 10:54 AM

With the Sacramento City Council on the verge of approving the agreement for a new $477 million Kings arena, city officials have asked a judge to toss out a year-old lawsuit filed by citizens protesting the deal.

City officials, in a court filing last Friday, argued that the lawsuit is about to become a moot point because of the pending City Council vote. The council is scheduled to vote tonight on the arena plan, including the city’s proposed subsidy for the project.

In a lawsuit filed last year, arena opponents Isaac Gonzalez, James Cathcart and Julian Camacho accused the city of hiding a “secret subsidy” from the public. They said the true value of the city’s contribution to the arena is well in excess of the stated figure of $258 million. Since their suit was filed, the city says the value of the subsidy has dropped to $255 million.

Gonzalez and the other plaintiffs argued that the nonbinding arena “term sheet” approved by the council in March 2013 understated the value of the real estate the city is donating to the Kings. They also complained that the city assigned no value at all to the parking garages that are being donated to the Kings at Downtown Plaza, site of the arena.

The city says the real estate values are accurate. As for the garages, the city says they require a considerable amount of repair, the cost of which will dwarf their value.

Once the council votes tonight, city lawyers argued, the definitive agreement with the Kings completed May 9 replaces the old term sheet that formed the basis for the Gonzalez lawsuit. “The nonbinding Term Sheet will become an obsolete document, rendering the claims in the (lawsuit) moot,” the city argued.

The case is pending in Sacramento Superior Court.

Cathcart, Gonzalez and Camacho were also leaders of the effort to place the arena subsidy question on the June ballot. Their effort failed when a judge dismissed their petitions as legally flawed.

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