Arena: Notes and quotes from Mayor Kevin Johnson’s press conference and reaction from Sacramento officials
As of right now, the effort to build a new arena in downtown Sacramento is dead. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson held his own press conference and confirmed so, following pressers by the commissioner and Maloofs.
“They are now saying they don’t want to do the deal, which essentially means they don’t want to be in Sacramento,” said Johnson during his comments to media at the St. Regis Hotel in New York City.
As we’ve done throughout the day, here a few notes and quotes from the mayor, followed by a link to his press conference.
- Johnson on the Maloofs and where the capital city goes from here. “I think Sacramento deserves a partner that would honor their commitment. I think Sacramento deserves a partner who wants to work in good faith. And I think Sacramento deserves better than what we’ve gotten up to this point.”
- Johnson on what the city managed to accomplish in less than a year. “We came up with $255 million in public investment, and that’s a keyword investment, that would stimulate our economy, revitalize our downtown, create jobs that we’re very proud of. And I would venture to say that any other owner around the league would jump and do backflips for what we were able to do in a short period of time.”
- Johnson expressed confidence in coming to a resolution of the issues that separated the city and the Maloofs. “When I came to New York today, I felt just as strong – that we as a community did our part. And I really was optimistic, I thought that we would be able to celebrate, that predevelopment would be resolved. The NBA put in some dollars to get us to this point when there was a dispute and it was just not to be, and that’s very disappointing.”
- The Maloofs said they’re willing to explore renovating Power Balance Pavilion. Mayor Johnson says the family wasn’t interested in that option before, but have since changed their minds. He says they told him: “We want a brand new facility. We want to be the talk of the town as it relates to owners in the NBA. And that’s what we set out to do…If they choose to renovate Arco on their own and use private dollars, that’s certainly their prerogative. There’s nothing to stop them from doing that.” Johnson says the city can’t participate in a renovation project of the arena.
- The Maloofs contend that Johnson and city staff haven’t communicated with them on their concerns. However, Johnson says that the NBA was authorized to represent the Kings throughout the last year. He says that the city always responded to the NBA in a timely manner. “If you have an agent that represents you, that’s who you’re negotiating with.”
- Johnson says he came to find out it was more than just predevelopment costs that bothered the Maloofs. “It just feels like they were coming up with reasons of why not to do the deal. That’s what it felt like. They may say otherwise.”
- One of the concerns for the Maloofs? Collateral on the outstanding loan that the city would refinance as part of the deal. “They would execute me in Sacramento if I came back with a deal with no collateral.” The mayor added: “When I knew we didn’t have a deal today is when they said to me they don’t want to put up collateral. At that point the meeting was over. There was just nothing we could say or do at that point.”
- The mayor says that the community should still come out and support the team: “We have a week or two left in the season. I think we should support or team for the next couple of weeks. That’s the respectable thing for Sacramento to do.”
In addition to the mayor, city officials held a press conference at city hall expressing their disappointment in the dissolution of the deal.
“It was a project about the future of our city,” said city manager John Shirey. He added that the city is postponing any further work on the proposed entertainment and sports complex.
“We have quite an array of experts that have been put together in order to move us forward on this project,” Shirey said. “We had limited money from the NBA committed by commissioner Stern and we’ll be winding down those activities for the time being.”
Councilman Steve Cohn had less than flattering comments to add when asked about the Maloofs.
“It’s hard to say what they’re thinking,” said Cohn. “But If you’re asking do I find them credible at this point? No.”
Addtional arena links
- Tony Bizjak of the Sacramento Bee has a report outlining all the issues the Maloofs have with the arena.
- The Bee also has a link to the powerpoint the Maloofs presented to their fellow owners and Sacramento media.
- The Maloofs say they’re committed to staying in Sacramento and that they’re not considering relocation at this time. However, the Orange County Register reports that George Maloof has been in contact with a city official in Anaheim.
Reports from KFBK radio were used to write this post.