SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Opponents of the new downtown Sacramento Kings arena who say the city struck a secret deal with the team are optimistic despite a judge ruling against one of their lawsuits on Friday.
Arena opponents are celebrating for the first time in the legal fight over the public financing of a new sports and entertainment complex in downtown Sacramento.
“It may not have seemed like it, but it was actually a big win for the petitioners,” said Patrick Soluri.
Judge Timothy Frawley dismissed the lawsuit that attacked the non-binding term sheet the Sacramento City Council approved last year. Now that the council solidified a financing plan this week, opponents will bring back the claims that the city gave the Kings secret sweeteners to get the arena built.
“All of these same allegations of collusion, misrepresentation and just utter failure on the part of the city council to do due diligence on this deal. All those same issues continue to apply,” Soluri said.
Assistant city attorney Matt Ruyak says the claims are baseless.
“There is no secret subsidy, there never was a secret subsidy,” he said.
He adds the city has been completely transparent about the public’s $255 million portion of the arena project.
“This case has no merit, it will never have merit and it’s a waste of the city’s and the taxpayers time, money and resources,” he said.
Opponents feeling confident after the hearing believe the city and Kings would be foolish to begin work on the arena.
“The city and the Kings move forward at their own peril, it’s a game of chicken on one level,” said Jeffrey Anderson.
Opponents are also pushing forward on a referendum to squash the council’s approval of the financing plan, but Ruyak says the deal can’t go to a public vote.