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Sacramento Kings charging California $500K per month to use arena as hospital

Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive

SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA - FEBRUARY 08: Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé looks on in the first half of the game between the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs at Golden 1 Center on February 08, 2020 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)

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The Kings have allowed their former arena to be turned into a field hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Lest you get the wrong idea…

Ryan Sabalow and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee:

The state is paying the Kings $500,000 a month for use of the facility for three months, though the team has donated the use of adjacent practice facility.

The expenses are detailed in a state contract The Bee obtained after filing a request under the California Public Records Act with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services.

The contract — signed quietly and without public announcement — now raises questions about the expenditure of taxpayer money to enrich an NBA franchise that paid its top player Harrison Barnes $24.1 million in 2019.

Harrison Barnes keeps catching strays.

The Kings have made other donations amid the pandemic. The rent appears to be standard rate. The Kings, run by owner Vivek Ranadive, are a private business. An arena belongs fully within the scope of that private business.

Except when it’s time to build a new arena. Then, taxpayers should pay some of the costs.