Reporting Tony Lopez
SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – It’s back to the drawing board after a deal to build a new sports arena in Sacramento collapsed last week, and the city on Monday night released a document that details how far apart the sides really are.
After a weekend of bitter volleys back and forth between the Kings owners and Sacramento officials, Mayor Kevin Johnson says he will need to meet with his staff and with the City Council to try to figure out how to move forward from here.
In New York last week when the deal fell apart, George Maloof said the city never responded to the family’s concerns with the non-binding term sheet. The city issued a response on Monday saying it didn’t receive the family’s proposed revisions until Friday and that, according to Assistant City Manager John Dangbert in an email to the City Council, “A brief review will show that this document (from Maloof attorney Scott Zolke) was not a serious attempt to reach a constructive outcome within the framework of the Orlando deal (during All-Star weekend in February), or with the City’s best fiscal and economic interests in mind.”
Among the items in the “redlined term sheet,” the Maloofs object to collateral being required to refinance their $67 million loan with the city, something the city called a non-starter, object to a 30-year lease requirement, seek to waive tax liabilities and require the city pay for arena costs on the days the Kings play there.
The city’s lead arena negotiator, Dan Barrett, sent a response to Zolke on Monday noting that all of these material issues had been discussed at length among the city, NBA and proposed arena operator AEG. The league was negotiating the arena deal on the Maloofs’ behalf.
It’s clear that a lot of the bad blood between the mayor and the Maloof brothers is still there. The Maloofs are saying they won’t negotiate with the mayor, pointing to comments made by Chris Lehane, executive director of Think BIG Sacramento, who said working with the Maloofs is like working with North Korea, only the Maloofs are less competent.
The mayor on Monday reiterated that the Maloofs have gone back on promises, and while the term sheet was non-binding, they didn’t move forward in good faith.
But Johnson vowed on Monday to push ahead with getting an arena built in the downtown railyards.
“I will say this, today. This is not over. I mean, we’re going to figure out something. We’re not going to be caught flat-footed. I’ve said that over and over again,” Johnson said. “We’re not going to just sit on our hands and roll over.”
Though Johnson won’t elaborate on the city’s next step, he said after he meets with the City Council and staff he’ll be speaking more on that subject.
The Maloofs are also talking. George Maloof told CBS13 on Monday the family remains committed to Sacramento. We asked him of the chances the Kings would be playing in Anaheim five years from now.
“Wow, um, five years from now … We haven’t even thought about that yet,” he said after a long pause. “Five years is a long ways away.”
Maloof continues to say the team and city should look at other options, like a refurbished Power Balance Pavilion or a new arena in Natomas.
But city leaders don’t think that’s a possibility, especially after the implosion of Sacramento’s big $400 million project last week in New York.
“I don’t find them credible in my view,” Councilman Steve Cohn said. “I would have a hard time doing another partnership.”
And right now, the Maloofs seem more interested in trying to patch up their damaged relationship with fans.
The brothers even reached out to season ticket-holders over the phone on Monday.
“Our intention is to stay here,” George Maloof said. “We’ve shown that and we are waiting for someone to prove us differently.”