John Shirey presents the arena plan to city council on March 26th. (Photo: James Ham)

Structural changes to the group intending to purchase and keep the Kings in Sacramento won’t affect the city’s non-binding contract to build a new arena.  That according to city manager John Shirey, who spoke to reporters at city hall today following the introduction of Mark Friedman to the prospective ownership team led by Vivek Ranadivé.

Shirey says he consulted with city attorney James Sanchez on the matter.  According to the city manager, Sanchez explained to him that the term sheet city council approved two weeks ago with a 7-2 vote doesn’t need to be adjusted because “the fundamental issues, all the terms, they don’t change.”

“The other thing to remember is that it is preliminary and what follows from the term sheet are all the specifics in terms of agreements that will be contracts that must be approved again by the city council,” Shirey told media outside city hall chambers early Tuesday. “If there’s a change in the partnership arrangements, well that could be spelled out and reflected in those final agreements.”

Billionaire businessman Ron Burkle was previously leading the effort on the arena front.  Burkle negotiated the terms of the proposed Downtown Plaza arena deal on behalf of the private investors in the weeks leading up to the March 26th vote.  However due to a conflict of interest with an existing sports management business, the supermarket magnate withdrew his name from the prospective ownership group, but remains involved in a limited role.

The plan, according to the city’s staff report released on March 23rd, “does not bind the city to enter into any future agreement to finance the (entertainment and sports center) project.”  Shirey is not concerned about the threat of lawsuits contending the approval of the term sheet due to it’s fundamental makeup.

“First of all, it’s been overblown in terms of the existing document being subject to litigation,” Shirey said.  “It is preliminary like we explained.  It is non-binding.  It is subject to formal agreements being worked out.  So those are the documents that could be challenged from a legal basis, but we don’t think there will be any basis for those (lawsuits).”