Seattle’s Chris Hansen funded anti-arena effort in Sacramento
When the NBA owners voted against relocating the Kings from Sacramento to Seattle back in May, that effectively ended the pursuit to purchase the team by a Seattle-based ownership group led by Chris Hansen.
Even after the battle was officially over, however, Hansen chose to keep fighting.From Sam Amick of USA Today:
Seattle-based hedge fund manager Chris Hansen, who tried and failed to buy the Kings and relocate them to the Emerald City earlier this year, was revealed as the private investor in an anti-arena effort in Sacramento on Friday by California’s Fair Political Practices Commission. The organization sued the law firm Loeb & Loeb on Thursday in an attempt to force them to disclose whose $80,000 had been spent to gather signatures that could have derailed the city’s arena effort that is required to keep the Kings.
According to Gary Winuk, chief of the enforcement division for the FPPC, Hansen donated $100,000 to gather the signatures necessary to put the arena to a vote because of the $258 million in public subsidy. If the effort was successful and the arena wasn’t built by the NBA’s required completion timeline (reportedly 2017), then new owner Vivek Ranadive and his group that bought the team for a league-record $535 million in mid-May would be at risk of losing the team and Seattle, conceivably, could be back in the mix.
It was a long shot to say the least, and an underhanded play to leave the door open ever so slightly for Seattle to remain in the mix, despite the fact that so much would need to happen over the next few years in terms of a failure to build a new arena in Sacramento for the NBA to even consider relocating the Kings once again.
Hansen released a statement, of course, apologizing for his actions while trying to distance the ownership group from what he called a personal decision.From Sports Radio KJR in Seattle:
I have not agreed to provide any further political contributions and do not intend to make any further contributions.
I would also just point out that the contribution was made in my personal capacity and not on behalf of our ownership group or my partners. In fact, I have never discussed the contribution with them to date.While I’m sure everyone can appreciate how easy it is to get caught up the heat of battle, with the benefit of hindsight, this is clearly a decision I regret. I wish the city of Sacramento and Kings fans the best in their efforts and they have my commitment not to have any involvement in their arena efforts in the future.
The question now becomes just how much this will hurt Seattle’s chances of gaining an NBA franchise in the future. It would seem, at the very least, that the city would need to find a new leader, or perhaps even a new ownership group to head up these efforts if it wants to appeal to the league’s sensibilities.