The Sacramento Kings have urged a judge to force opponents of its plan to build a new arena to pay a bond of at least $100 million, according to filings made in court this week.
The Sacramento Bee reports that Kings chief financial officer John Rinehart said in the filings that any delay in construction that results from a lawsuit filed by a group of citizens opposing the arena plan would cause severe financial losses on the part of the team, and could mean the project won't be completed by its target date of October 2016. The bond would be to cover those prospective losses.
The lawsuit against the arena plan was filed in May, one day after the Sacramento City Council approved a development agreement with the Kings, and its main opposition centers on potential environmental harm to the city that would result from the arena's construction. The group has requested an injunction to stop construction, a hearing for which is set for July 25.
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It’s long been known that the NBA has the right to buy the Kings and move them out of town if the arena isn’t open by fall 2017, or one year past the scheduled opening. That deadline is part of the terms the league set in May 2013, when it vetoed a proposal by the Kings’ former owners to sell the team to a group that planned to move the Kings to Seattle. The league then approved the sale of the team to a group led by Vivek Ranadive.
Rinehart’s written declaration in Sacramento Superior Court cites big financial problems even if the opponents win and the project goes beyond the scheduled opening in 2016, which is before the NBA’s deadline.
Rinehart said in the filings that the Kings have already spent around $60 million on the new arena project, including $36 million spent to buy Downtown Plaza, where the new arena will be located.
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- Ben Estes