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Highs, lows, hoops and pie. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson through the years

A timeline of important dates in the personal, athletic and political life of Kevin Johnson.

 
Kevin Johnson and his Mom, Georgia West, in 1975.

March 4, 1966: Kevin Johnson is born in Sacramento. His father dies when he is 3 years old, and Johnson is raised by his grandparents in Oak Park.

1983: Johnson leads the state of California in scoring as a senior on Sacramento High School’s basketball team.

1983-1987: Johnson attends and plays basketball at Cal.

June 22, 1987: Johnson is picked seventh by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA draft. He is traded to the Phoenix Suns in February 1988.

July 19, 1996: A teenager named Mandi Koba tells Phoenix police that Johnson fondled her in his home. Koba was 16 at the time of the alleged encounter, and Johnson was 29. Johnson was never criminally charged, but The Bee later reported that he and Koba signed a draft confidential settlement agreement in 1997 worth $230,000.

 
Bee staff photo
Kevin Johnson makes his way around Bobby Hurley in the first quarter of their game at Arco Arena on April 10, 1997.

May 16, 2000: Johnson retires from the NBA and returns to Sacramento.

March 3, 2003: Johnson’s nonprofit, St. Hope, is granted control of Sacramento High School by the Sacramento City Unified School District board. The agreement is finalized a few months later after a legal battle.

March 5, 2008: Johnson announces he will challenge two-term Mayor Heather Fargo for City Hall’s top post.

Nov. 4, 2008: After a sometimes ugly campaign in which Johnson’s opponents highlighted sexual misconduct allegations against him, the former NBA star is elected 55th mayor of Sacramento, defeating Fargo in a landslide.

 
JOSE LUIS VILLEGAS jvillegas@sacbee.com
Mayor elect Kevin Johnson embraces supporters following his speech at the election night party at Zocalo in Midtown Sacramento in November 2008.

Nov. 25, 2008: Johnson holds an inauguration gala at Memorial Auditorium, a departure from the traditional low-key swearing-in at City Hall.

Dec. 11, 2008: Less than two weeks into his term, Johnson proposes his first strong-mayor plan to greatly increase his office’s power.

Aug. 6, 2009: The City Council votes 5-4 to place Johnson’s strong mayor plan on the ballot, a major political victory for the mayor.

 
Sacramento Bee staff photo
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson at the doorway to his office at City Hall on June 30, 2009.

Aug. 11, 2009: It’s revealed that the head of the 40 Acres Art Gallery, in an Oak Park development built by Johnson, resigned because of “personal behavior and actions” on the part of Johnson. Kim Curry-Evans told HBO in 2015 that she eventually believed sexual misconduct allegations against Johnson were true.

Sept. 22, 2009: After the NCAA deemed Arco Arena unfit to host its annual men’s collegiate basketball tournament, Johnson warns the Kings will likely leave town if a new arena isn’t built.

Nov. 6, 2009: After months of rumors, Johnson and Michelle Rhee announce they are engaged.

Nov. 20, 2009: A congressional report says the mayor offered to pay a young woman working in a nonprofit Johnson oversaw $1,000 a month after she accused Johnson of touching her inappropriately in 2007. The report also alleges Rhee did “damage control” on sexual misconduct allegations made against Johnson. The mayor’s camp denies the allegations.

Jan. 21, 2010: A judge rules Johnson’s strong-mayor measure is an unconstitutional effort to revise the city charter and blocks it from the ballot.

April 27, 2010: The City Council approves a complicated land swap deal that would build an arena in the downtown railyard and move the state fair to North Natomas. The deal eventually dies.

June 22, 2010: The City Council votes 7-2 to block a new strong-mayor plan pushed by Johnson from the ballot. The mayor responds by chiding his colleagues in an awkward lecture from the City Council dais.

Feb. 19, 2011: NBA Commissioner David Stern says at the league’s All-Star Game that the Maloof family has discussed moving the Sacramento Kings to Anaheim. It launches the most intense chapter of Johnson’s career: his quest to keep the Kings.

April 14, 2011: As the NBA debates the Kings’ future, Johnson wows the league’s board of governors by presenting Southern California grocery tycoon Ron Burkle as a potential new owner of the franchise.

May 2, 2011: The Maloofs decide not to seek the Kings’ relocation to Anaheim and pledge to work with the city on building a new arena.

Sept. 3, 2011: Johnson and Rhee sneak off to a resort in Tennessee to get married. The couple had planned a Sept. 4, 2010, wedding, but received a lot of publicity and pushback for the location of the event: the estate of wealthy Sacramento developer Angelo K. Tsakopoulos.

Feb. 27, 2012: Johnson, Stern and the Maloofs reach a handshake agreement to construct a $387 million arena in the downtown railyard.

March 6, 2012: The City Council approves the financing deal for an arena. The plan calls for the city to leverage millions out of its parking operations for its contribution.

April 13, 2012: The Maloofs pull out of the arena plan, calling it a bad financial deal for them and the city of Sacramento.

June 5, 2012: Johnson cruises to re-election after facing little opposition in his second campaign.

July 24, 2012: The Bee reports that long-time Johnson aide Lisa Serna-Mayorga resigned from her post at City Hall amid allegations she used her city-issued credit card to make thousands of dollars in personal purchases. Serna-Mayorga eventually was sentenced to five years’ probation and 270 days in jail.

Sept. 5, 2012: The Bee reports that Johnson’s arena task force was funded in large part by the Kings through behests, a system that allows elected officials to raise millions of dollars for their nonprofits. The Bee report also reveals Johnson’s office waited months to report the behests, far beyond the state’s deadlines.

Dec. 3, 2012: The California Fair Political Practices Commission fines Johnson $37,500 as a result of The Bee’s report on his failure to report his behests on time.

Jan. 9, 2013: Word begins leaking out that the Maloofs are trying to sell the Kings to a group in Seattle.

Feb. 28, 2013: Johnson announces during his State of the City that he has assembled Burkle and fitness chain mogul Mark Mastrov to place a bid to buy the Kings and block their move to Seattle.

May 15, 2013: The NBA owners vote to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

May 17, 2013: A group led by Silicon Valley tycoon Vivek Ranadive – recruited by Johnson – reaches an agreement to buy the Kings from the Maloofs.

 
JOSE LUIS VILLEGAS jvillegas@sacbee.com
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive watches as Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson embraces NBA Commissioner David Stern between the first and second quarters on Wednesday, October 30, 2013, the NBA season opener between the Sacramento Kings and the Denver Nuggets at Sleep Train Arena.

June 30, 2013: The Bee reports that Wal-Mart and charities funded by its founding family had given thousands of dollars in behests to Johnson as the city considered lifting a de facto ban on the construction of new “big box” stores. The FPPC later fines Johnson $1,000 for failing to properly report travel expenses funded by behests from the Walton Family Foundation.

Nov. 5, 2013: The City Council votes to place a strong-mayor measure on the November 2014 ballot.

April 29, 2014: Johnson is the key negotiator for the NBA players as the league considers a punishment for Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Sterling was caught on tape making racist comments and is banned for life. Johnson’s work earns him national attention.

May 20, 2014: The City Council approves the formal financing and development plan for what will become Golden 1 Center.

June 23, 2014: Johnson wraps up the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting in Dallas. Johnson is the first Sacramento mayor to lead the prestigious organization.

Aug. 6, 2014: Johnson and other boosters travel to Portland, Ore., for the Major League Soccer All-Star Game as they pitch Sacramento as an MLS expansion city.

 
RANDALL BENTON rbenton@sacbee.com
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson installs a lawn sign while campaigning door-to-door for Measure "L" in Sacramento on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

Nov. 4, 2014: Johnson’s strong-mayor plan is soundly defeated at the ballot.

May 15, 2015: The Bee reports that a former staff aide to City Manager John Shirey accused Johnson of sexual harassment. The claim was rejected by the city and Johnson denies the allegations.

Sept. 25, 2015: Mandi Koba goes public with her claim that Johnson molested her in 1995 in Phoenix. Koba tells the website Deadspin she “just felt like I wasn’t doing anything but protecting (Johnson)” by remaining silent.

Oct. 12, 2015: ESPN delays the premiere of a documentary on Sacramento’s successful campaign to keep the Kings after Deadspin posts video of a teenaged Koba being interviewed by Phoenix police.

Oct. 16, 2015: The Bee reports that an outside law firm warned Johnson should “refrain from hugging or touching anyone” at City Hall or at city-related events.

Oct. 21, 2015: Johnson announces he will not seek a third term in office.

Nov. 10, 2015: The Bee obtains audio of a 1996 phone conversation between Johnson and Koba that was recorded by Phoenix police. In the call, Johnson says he and Koba had a hug that was “more intimate than it should have been.” He also tells Koba that “I apologize again to you for using bad judgment.” But he disputes her characterization that they had sexual contact.

June 7, 2016: Former state Senate leader Darrell Steinberg is elected mayor.

 
Philippe Calouro-Ngabonziza
Sean Thompson is wrestled to the ground after hitting Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson with a pie in the face at a benefit dinner at Sacramento Charter High School.

Sept. 21, 2016: Former Occupy protester Sean Thompson throws a pie in Johnson’s face at a charity dinner at Sacramento Charter High School. Johnson strikes Thompson in response.

Oct. 4, 2016: Golden 1 Center opens with a concert by legendary rocker Paul McCartney.

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