SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento is still fighting hard to bring an MLS franchise to the capital city, despite losing an official bid to Cincinnati last month.
Now newly revealed text messages and emails are showing some of the behind the scenes deal-making to get a Major League Soccer team awarded here.
The documents were released by the city of Sacramento after a Public Records Act request by an Austin attorney, seeking information about whether the MLS Columbus Crew, which is slated to move to Austin, could be eyeing Sacramento as a possible alternative. Nothing in the emails shed light on that theory.
The texts and emails do reveal new names in the Sacramento Republic FC hunt for a whale investors, to help add money to their bid.
Billionaire Ron Burkle, former Sacramento King Omri Casspi, NBA minority owner Meyer Orback and east coast businessman Ezra Stark are some of the names that have been included in discussions.
On the same March 14 day Burkle was seen courtside at a Sacramento Kings game with Republic owner Kevin Nagle, and former Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Republic COO Ben Gumpert texted Mayor Steinberg:
“Going well-they have had the opportunity to go out on the site with (railyards landowner) Larry Kelly.”
“Ron certainly is up on the curve on sports investing given his experience (unlike most of the other ones you have met or spoken with).”
Another text late last year was sent by Mayor Steinberg to commissioner Garber in what reads like a plea for his city:
“We have earned a different consideration. When David Stern asked me four years ago if I could guarantee that as California state senate leader, I would pass a law preventing an environmental lawsuit from delaying the arena construction, I said yes. I then delivered. I will deliver for MLS and Sacramento if you give me and us a chance.