Mayor Johnson Calls Arena Squabble With Maloofs ‘Very Disappointing’

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – The celebratory tone Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson expressed over the new downtown arena deal about a month ago has drastically changed after the Kings’ owners say they have no intention on paying anything toward predevelopment costs.

Johnson appeared on “Good Day Sacramento” Tuesday morning, and while he said he expects the City Council to approve moving forward with the arena when it votes at its meeting later in the day, he said he was “very disappointed” in the turn of events.

The Maloofs say as tenants in the new railyards arena that the city would own, they shouldn’t be expected to pay the $3.26 million requested of them in the term sheet for predevelopment fees. Arena operator AEG would kick in another $3.26 million and the city’s share is $6.5 for consultant work prior to the actual construction of the sports and entertainment complex. That work is scheduled to start Wednesday pending a yes vote by the City Council on Tuesday.

“I would say this is slightly abnormal,” Johnson said in an interview with Koula Gianulias on the Good Day set Tuesday morning. “Normally, when you have a partnership and an agreement, everyone is celebrating, working together to get to the finish line. When you come out of Orlando (when the sides met during All-Star Weekend to negotiate a deal), the NBA is on board, the city is on board, AEG is on board. For some reason, the Maloofs are not on board. Very disappointing.”

A Los Angeles-based attorney representing the Maloofs issued a statement Monday night explaining the family’s position.

“The Kings saw the term sheet one week before the deadline and the Kings made it very clear to all parties that we are not going to pay predevelopment fees,” Eric W. Rose said. “That is one reason why we have never signed the term sheet.”

At his press conference Tuesday, Johnson called the Maloof’s disingenuous for saying that predevelopment costs were not part of the agreement.

Johnson was asked if it was time for the city to consider its Plan B, a new ownership group. Billionaire Ron Burkle’s name continues to come up, but the Maloofs have repeatedly said they’re not selling the team. The Maloofs have been asked to contribute $73 million toward the arena, but the NBA had to step in to commit to the first $200,000 in predevelopment money after the family refused to pay it.

“I will make a promise that Sacramento will not be caught flat-footed,” Johnson said on “Good Day.” “That’s what we’ve learned. We thought that all the heavy hurdles were behind us and that we were moving forward. The things that they’re saying publicly is one thing; what they’re doing privately is another, and I think Sacramento deserves much better.

He later added at his press conference that “We as a city won’t be jerked around.”

Kings attorney Rose issued another statement after Johnson’s comments on Tuesday, saying in part: “We do not understand Mayor Johnson’s frustration and instead of projecting, we hope that the mayor and city leaders will address the various issues that we have brought to their attention. We need the city to demonstrate to us that they can meet their own timeline of having a new arena built in time for the 2015 basketball season.”

A Maloof attorney sent the city a letter questioning whether the environmental impact review could be completed in time for the 2015 target date. State Senator Darrell Steinberg issued a statement Tuesday saying that such a process is feasible under AB 900, a bill he authored to help speed up the downtown arena construction.

“The Maloofs seem to be looking for every reason not to proceed as opposed to looking for ways to make it work,” he said in his statement. “With the proper mix of mass transit, energy efficiency, and other objectives there is no reason to believe this project couldn’t meet AB 900 requirements.”

George Maloof said last week that the family was still committed to Sacramento but had several unresolved issues with the arena term sheet. CBS13 tried to talk to Joe Maloof at the Kings’ game Monday night but he walked away from our camera.

Johnson said the sides have two weeks to resolve things and expects some decisions to come out of the NBA owners meetings in New York April 12-13.

“By April 17 we have to pay city dollars,” he said. “We’re not going to spend a city dollar until the predevelopment and everything else is resolved. The finish line keeps moving and that’s what’s disappointing to me.”

  • JT

    If the Maloof can’t pay that 3.26 million then why even pay the 73 million to build the arena if they can’t even pay the 3.26 million as it was on the sheet. Okay the Maloof should think that without AEG, NBA, & with City help a little they couldn’t even build the arena, but because of all this teams up thats why plan 1 pass but also without AEG help to put up more money in to it it wouldn’t pass.

  • Whitey

    JT, the Maloofs probably could pay it… I think it’s that they don’t want to pay it. Now go back to school because you can’t write anything well enough to even read.

    And so you know… the Maloofs aren’t paying for the arena because it’s not just for the Kings. It’s an entertainment complex for the community. So my advice to you is, SHUT UP until you find out what this is all about.

    • JT

      I already know what it’s all about I’m not stupid. It depend on how they’re going to make this work for some reasons cause lots of people will be losing their jobs at the arena in Natomas, also supposed to create more jobs in to the area, change Sac. future businesses & its economy to a better future. The downtown arena is the only hope right now for Sac. that will start the big change in downtown to keep making more people to come back here to keep businesses from dying out. The arena is one of the key to move ahead in the railyard.

  • Whitey

    Hey, IMPEACH, this is primarily funded with private money… it’s not coming from your $15,000/year salary… so chill.

    Fortunately for us there are city leaders that recognize you have to spend some money to make more. Or are you happy with the eyesore railyard? Did you have plans to build something else there?

    • joe schweddy

      actually its coming from parking lots that the city owns…it s just not coming from the general fund…theres an initiative floating around recently trying to put this use of city parking funds to a vote …the maloofs are citing this also…essentially ending the arena dealio…

  • Scott

    How come the people in favor of this project know how to spell and form complete sentences… while the naysayers comments look like they’ve come after a full day of drinking Budweiser in the sunshine?

    What does that tell you, sheep?

  • joe schweddy

    does anybody not think now that the maloofs goal is to move the team….?? it cant get any more obvious…..the maloof family has some business to handle amongst themselves…..

  • George Magoof

    If you don’t think that this will cost you,the city,and the state before this is over your 3 french fries short of a happy meal

  • Just an observation

    It is time for the Mayor to force the Maloof’s to pay the many millions they already owe Sacramento, then chase these sleeze bags out of town! Enough is enough!!!

    • Karen

      Well said! The bottom line is I wanted them to stay. Look, I understand I can no longer afford to go to their games. But, plenty of people seems to still be able too. And as long as my homeowners taxes don’t go up I was still on board. But, come on. How long do we have to be a door mat for the Maloof’s? I’m just so sickof heraing them whine about every little thing. Just kick them to the curb and at least we still have our balls in check. Stop kissing their butts Sacramento!

  • Whitey

    Observation, what a jacka$$. The mayor should force the Maloofs to pay? Are you 9-years old? What a stupid thing to write. Should your mortgage company make you pay the balance of your home right now because they think you don’t have enough money in your checking account? You’re stupid too.

    Joe Schweddy, the Maloofs could have moved the team years ago if they wanted to. They didn’t. We can’t read their minds… lord knows I’d rather live in Newport Beach if I had money to burn, but they chose to stay here. So to answer your question, no… nobody thinks they want to move. It’s called posturing and it’s part of big business. Get yourself informed.

    JT, you are stupid. Why wouldn’t people with existing jobs at the arena not be able to keep their jobs?

    • JT

      Say whatever you want cause it don’t hurt it just word right. So anyway have a really wonderful day. Bye bye bye gotta go.

  • JT

    I don’t know why you are getting mad but you’re a really rude person. Learn how to respect to others. Beside i speak 5 different languages.

  • Retired old Guy

    It’s all a bunch of hogwash. Get rid of the Kings, the Maloofs, the Mayor and the City Council and quit being concerned about the rail yard and get on with your life. There is more to life and Sacramento than basketball. What a bunch of krap.

  • Whitey

    Retired, you’re never going to get it. This isn’t about basketball… though you’d like it to be so you can hate it. This arena would serve as a multipurpose entertainment venue that all large cities develop. It happens to house the Kings roughly 40 nights a year. The rest of the time it would host other events for a myriad of people… thus raising revenue for the community.

    Just think, in your case, it could hold a Midol convention.

    JT, I’m mad because people like you come and spout lies about a subject you know nothing about. If you don’t like the arena deal, fine, but dislike it because you’re educated on the matter… not because you’re tired of hearing about it or read an article where someone else badmouthed it. Ignorance is dangerous because people listen and assume you know what you’re talking about… which you don’t. Instead of understanding what this could bring to our community, people like you and retired old guy just poo poo the idea because you hate basketball and wealthy people.

    • James cool observation

      Why are you talking about only basketball? We’re talking about jobs here hello not just only basketball. Your an idiot!

  • judy

    Send the whole bunch out of Sacramento PERIOD!! Includes the so called Mayor,the City Council and the owners of this LOSER basketball team!!!

1 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
The Taz Show
LIVE: Monday through Friday from 6am – 6pm ET

Listen Live