Judge dismisses final Seattle Arena challenge before NBA vote

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by CHRIS DANIELS / KING 5 News

NWCN.com

Posted on April 12, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 12 at 5:05 PM

A King County judge on Friday dismissed the last remaining lawsuit against Chris Hansen’s Seattle Arena proposal before NBA owners vote on the sale and relocation of the Sacramento Kings. Not long after, there were reports emerging that a Sacramento group was ready to match the offer made by the Seattle group.
 
NBA owners will meet next week to decide whether to approve the sale of the Kings to Hansen, and whether to allow the team to move to Seattle starting next season.
 
The Seattle lawsuit contended that the $490 million arena proposal violates the terms of Initiative 91. That initiative, passed by voters in 2006, says the Seattle must make a profit on any investment in a sports facility.
 
The Memorandum of Understanding for the Arena, approved by the Seattle City and King County Councils, calls for at least $145 million in public financing, and up to $200 million if Hansen can secure an NBA and NHL franchise. The bonds would be paid back with Arena related revenue. Hansen also agreed to spend $40 million in transportation improvements and $7 million in renovations on Key Arena.
 
Lawyers for Hansen and King County said that, although there is a binding agreement, the final documents have not been signed and that the lawsuit should not move forward. King County Superior Court Judge Laura Middaugh agreed, basically saying that since the arena deal had not yet been finalized, there was nothing to sue over.
 
Attorneys for the group behind the I-91 lawsuit and a separate lawsuit by the longshoreman's union say they will continue to pursue legal action in the future.
 
Hansen, and his investors, which include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Pete, and Erik Nordstrom, have a signed deal to purchase 65% of the franchise, which would be revalued at $525 million. The group has already submitted a $30 million deposit to the Maloof family, which owns the Kings.
 
The Maloofs had set a Friday 5 p.m. deadline for a potential Sacramento ownership group to make a matching offer. Reports out Friday afternoon indicated the contingent had informed the NBA that it would match the offer on the table. The Sacramento Bee also reports former Facebook executive Chris Kelly has joined the Sacramento group.
 
Multiple people with knowledge of the negotiations say it is still unclear whether a vote will be taken. A simple majority is needed to approve relocation, but at least 23 owners need to vote to approve the sale.

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