Sacramento wants Kings promise, NBA backing
The city of Sacramento fired off another round of letters Wednesday in an attempt to stop the Sacramento Kings from moving or at least get assurances in writing that they’ll repay a $77 million loan from the city.
A day after the Anaheim City Council approved issuing $75 million in lease revenue bonds to entice the team to relocate, Sacramento officials sent a letter to the Kings requesting the team’s owners promise in writing to repay Sacramento.
Assistant City Manager John Dangberg also sent a letter to National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern and the NBA Board of Governors. Dangberg wrote that the city is asking the board to make its approval of the team’s relocation contingent upon the Kings paying its debt.
"In recent weeks, the Kings have taken steps and made statements that indicate it would be prudent and appropriate for the city to request that the Kings now put in writing the assurance" owner George Maloof has made publicly, but not to the city, Dangberg said in the letter.
None of the Maloofs wished to comment Wednesday. But on Tuesday, Kings owner Joe Maloof issued a statement to the media calling the loan from Sacramento a "non-issue."
"We’ve always paid our financial obligations in the past, we’re going to do it in the present and we’re going to do it in the future," Maloof said in the statement. "Whatever the future holds to ensure the long-term viability of the team, the city of Sacramento will be paid in full.”
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson also said Tuesday that the Maloofs personally assured him on Monday they would pay off their debt.
The city could sue the Kings for breach of contract if they fail to pay off the debt and any other outstanding obligations. But city officials are making these requests in an effort to follow standard business protocol as the team’s owners make a serious effort to leave, city spokesman Maurice Chaney said.
“I think we just want to take some reasonable precautions to protect the taxpayers of Sacramento,” he said. “The Maloofs have been very great owners. The comments they made are encouraging.”
NBA representatives could not be reached for comment Wednesday afternoon.
Suzanne Hurt is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow her on Twitter @SuzanneHurt.