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Local Developer Mark Friedman Joins Sacramento Group

Following yesterday's departure of Ron Burkle, local developer Mark Friedman has joined Sacramento's bid to keep the Kings and build a new arena in downtown Sacramento. Friedman calls his commitment "substantial".

Karen Higgins, UC Davis

Yesterday we received the news that Ron Burkle had to recuse himself from Sacramento's bid to buy the Kings and build an arena at the Downtown Plaza due to a conflict of interest. The Mayor said this wouldn't be a problem, and that another "wrinkle or two" would occur within the ownership group in the coming days.

Today the Bee has learned that that wrinkle is the addition of local developer Mark Friedman. This is in addition to yesterday's news that the Jacobs Family of San Diego would be stepping up their involvement as well.

Friedman tells the Bee that he has been in contact with Mark Mastrov and Vivek Ranadivé for a couple of months, and that his commitment is "substantial".

The Friedman family is well respected around Sacramento, having developed a lot of projects including the Arden Fair mall and the West Sacramento waterfront. Friedman has hosted political fundraisers for both Barack Obama (before he was President) and Mayor Johnson. At the State of the City address in February, Mayor Johnson honored Mark's late father Mort for his service to the city.

There is expected to be a Press Conference revealing Mark's involvement at 11 A.M. We will update this post with any new information. Please feel free to use this thread for the Press Conference. News10 will be broadcasting it live here.

UPDATE Post-Presser:

The Sacramento Press Conference revealing Mark Friedman as an investor has concluded. Here are some key points that were made:

  • Mark Friedman's name was brought up at the NBA Board of Governor's meeting last week.
  • Friedman's decision to be involved is separate from Burkle's departure. He was going to join in regardless.
  • Mayor Johnson claims that money is not an issue, merely defining what everyone's roles in the group are going to be.
  • KJ says both Sacramento and Seattle are primed for arenas to be built by 2016. James Ham points out that Seattle was not confident in that timeline in New York.
  • KJ also says that Ron Burkle may still be involved on the team front at some point in the future. Obviously, he would have to take care of his conflict of interest for that to happen which would mean selling his share of Relativity Sports. (That second sentence is my analysis, not KJ's words)