There has been a lot of speculation over the past few weeks as to who exactly has been funding the anti-arena campaign in Sacramento, especially after it was revealed that the $80,000 payment was wired through L.A. Law Firm Loeb & Loeb. Loeb & Loeb also happen to be the Maloof Family's Attorneys.
The truth is even stranger however as multiple reports came through today that the mysterious donor is none other than Chris Hansen, the hedge fund manager who unsuccessfully tried to purchase the Sacramento Kings and relocate them to Seattle earlier this year. Carmichael Dave was the first to report this story and the Sacramento Bee has confirmed.
In the Bee's story, Hansen made the donation to S.T.O.P. about a month after the NBA blocked the relocation of the team. This is after interviews in which he said he regretted trying to take a team away from another city. Given Hansen's expressed desire to continue working on bringing an NBA team back to Seattle, the fact that he is actively going against the NBA's wishes and trying to impede Sacramento's chances at getting an arena will very likely not be viewed favorably by the NBA.
The Bee also says that the city has received paperwork from as many as 1,700 people demanding that their name be removed from S.T.O.P.'s petition. That was before the news that Chris Hansen was behind the funding.
The FPPC is holding a press conference at 4 P.M. regarding this news. KHTK 1140 will be broadcasting it if you want to listen.
UPDATE 6:05 P.M.:
The Bee has a copy of Chris Hansen's Statement:
I made a mistake I regret.
When our binding agreement to purchase the Sacramento Kings became a competitive situation and we were faced with both the prospect of seeing our transaction fail and losing our $30 million deposit, I engaged Loeb & Loeb to canvas the various opposition groups to gain an understanding of their efforts and the prospects of their success.
During this time I was approached through Loeb by the opposition about making a contribution to the opposition's efforts as part of a broader group and agreed to make a donation.
In this regard I would just like to highlight that I have never directly engaged with or even had any conversations or contact with STOP, Taxpayers For Safer Neighborhoods, or any the various consultants engaged in the Sacramento Arena opposition. It was also not my intent to be the primary financial sponsor of the opposition's efforts. I merely agreed to make a donation to the opposition in what had become a competitive and heated process.
I have not agreed to provide any further political contributions and do not intend to make any further contributions.
I would also just point out that the contribution was made in my personal capacity and not on behalf of our ownership group or my partners. In fact, I have never discussed the contribution with them to date.
While I'm sure everyone can appreciate how easy it is to get caught up the heat of battle, with the benefit of hindsight, this is clearly a decision I regret. I wish the city of Sacramento and Kings fans the best in their efforts and they have my commitment not to have any involvement in their arena efforts in the future."
More from Sactown Royalty:
- Mail Sac Friday: GOAT, uniforms, Sactown Royalty Nights
- Will we ever know who funded the anti-Kings arena petition drive?
- The Sactown Royalty Show Ep. 10: Matt Moore
- Mail Sac Wednesday: Sharing the ball, alternate team names, favorite live sporting events.
- Sacramento City Council Agrees to help Kings acquire Macy's Land