SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A judge is allowing a group challenging the city’s subsidy of a new Sacramento Kings arena to interview City Councilmembers and staff.

Attorney Patrick Soluri is hoping those interviews reveal what he claims is a secret deal between the city and the NBA team.

“The franchise was overvalued at $525 million, and that the city needed to make up the difference,” he said.

The alleged secret deal includes undervaluing city land, parking space and billboards to make up the cost.

Lawyers for the city and the Kings deny it and said they have been transparent about the public’s $258 million contribution since day 1. Soluri doesn’t agree and claims the subsidy is actually likely $100 million higher.

“They did everything they could possibly do to conceal the additional subsidy, additional giveaways from the public,” Soluri said.

Proving that the city did commit fraud will be difficult for the attorney, as he has to prove city officials intentionally misled the public.

While the court battle continues, the petitions to put the arena on the June ballot are still being counted. So far, 6 of every 9 signatures from the Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork campaign have come back valid.

But arena supporters believe STOP will be stopped, saying the petitions turned in are different.

“We’ve now discovered that there are nine petitions, and they are just not compliant with the law,” said arena supporter Josh Wood. “They are not following the rules.”

The campaign would need 22,000 valid signatures to put the issue to a vote, and a final count is due on Jan. 23. Until then, the city is moving forward on the arena construction plan.


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