Arena trial enters third week
The city of Sacramento is scheduled to start presenting its defense at 9 a.m. Monday against the lawsuit challenging the city’s subsidy for the new Kings arena under construction downtown. On Thursday, Sacramento Superior Court Judge Tim Frawley rebuffed the city’s request for an immediate ruling in its favor following the plaintiffs’ presentation of their case.
This week is the third and likely final week of the trial.
The plaintiffs, three Sacramento residents who oppose the 2014 deal, say the city committed fraud by secretly providing sweeteners beyond the publicly stated subsidy of $255 million to help compensate the Kings’ ownership for overpaying for the team in 2013 during a bidding war to keep it from being moved to Seattle.
Scheduled to open in October 2016, the arena is expected to cost $507 million, according to earlier court testimony. The Kings are required to pay for cost overruns.
Two aspects of the complex deal have been under the spotlight: the city’s agreement to give the Kings operational rights to several thousand city-owned garage parking spots next to or near the arena, and an agreement to let the Kings build six digital signboards on city parcels next to freeways.
The plaintiffs allege those entitlements are worth tens of millions of dollars to the Kings, and that the city purposely hid that fact. City officials contend it cost the city nothing to give the Kings the right to build billboards, and that the parking garages it gave away are such poor performers and in such a poor state of repair that they wouldn’t be worth anything if an arena isn’t built.
Ivory, special elections up for review
As it returns from the holiday weekend, the Senate Appropriations Committee has a long list of legislation to consider.
Among the items on the docket: The final hearing for Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins’ bill on ivory sales. Assembly Bill 96 would ban sales of ivory outright, including sales of old ivory imported before the trade of elephant parts became illegal. Proponents say allowing those heirloom sales makes it harder to stop the import of new, illegal ivory.
The committee will also hear SB 49, by Sen. Sharon Runner, R-Lancaster, which addresses the rising toll special elections are taking on counties by allowing the governor to declare an election over if there’s only one candidate. According to a legislative analysis, since 2009 there have been 39 special elections with an average $1 million price tag for local governments. The state stopped reimbursing counties for elections in 2008.
The hearing begins at 10 a.m. in room 4203.