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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson flew to Las Vegas on Friday to meet with Kings co-owner George Maloof in an apparent attempt to revive downtown arena talks.
Maloof spokesman Eric Rose confirmed the meeting, saying Johnson arrived unannounced at the Palms Casino, where George Maloof is the chairman, and that Maloof took the meeting. However, a source told CBS13′s Ben Sosenko that the meeting was planned and that Maloof was expecting the mayor. They reportedly met for about an hour and it was described as “cordial” but nothing definitive resulted from the meeting.
The mayor is expected to be back in time to attend Friday night’s Kings game against Oklahoma City at Power Balance Pavilion, Sosenko reports.
Friday’s development comes a week after the deal appeared to be dead in New York when the Maloofs held a press conference during the NBA Board of Governors meetings saying they never agreed to sign off on the $391 million project. They presented an economist who said the project would put the city on the brink of bankruptcy.
Johnson flew into New York to try to salvage the deal but announced a few hours after the Maloof press conference that the deal was indeed dead.
At a meeting in Orlando in February during NBA All-Star weekend, the sides agreed to the framework of a deal that had the city committing $255 million, the Maloofs $73 million and proposed arena operator AEG $58 million.
But since then the Maloofs have cited several objections to the term sheet, including having to pay $3.26 million in predevelopment money, the 30-year lease requirement and the stipulation that they provide collateral in order to refinance their $67 million loan with the city, among other things.
Earlier this week the mayor said he was moving on to Plan B, which would be to build the arena in the downtown railyards without the Kings as the anchor tenant. He suggested the city might look at trying to bring in an NHL team.