Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sacramento Bee: Legislation to Ensure Kings Pay Sacramento Back

Proposed legislation would require Kings to pay debt to city before leaving

Published: Monday, Apr. 11, 2011 - 2:19 pm
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Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and several other Sacramento area legislators today introduced a bill aimed at forcing the Sacramento Kings to make good on their $77 million loan from the city of Sacramento before the team can move to a new city.
The bill, SB 652, prohibits professional sports teams from signing agreements to relocate elsewhere unless the team has taken care of its financial obligations in its current city.
The Kings are believed to be in the final stages of negotiating a deal to move to Anaheim next season. Sacramento city officials have sent several letters to the Kings requesting team owners give them written assurances the team will pay its loan before it leaves. Team owners and attorneys have said they intend to make good on their financial commitments to Sacramento, but so far have declined to state that in writing.

The Steinberg bill is co-authored by Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento, Senator Ted Gaines, R-Fair Oaks, and Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento.

The bill also states professional teams that have existing financial arrangements with a city must put up a bond or deposit that is adequate to ensure the financial obligation will be taken care of.

"Pro sports teams frequently create partnerships with local government, but let's not forget these are tax dollars at work," Steinberg said in a press release Monday afternoon. "No one is saying sports franchises, like any other business, shouldn't be able to move to another city. However, taxpayers in one city shouldn't be left holding the bag for the benefit of another city. "

"Losing the team is bad enough and there is no way Sacramento can eat the nearly $80 million owed by the Maloofs," Gaines said.

The bill applies to any relocation agreement entered into after Jan. 1 of this year. The Kings are believed not to have signed a relocation agreement with Anaheim yet.

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