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City Clerk to make final decision on STOP's petition soon

The county has finished its verification process. Things are now in the hands of the city clerk. Plus, the Kings finalize the deal to purchase Downtown Plaza.

The county of Sacramento wrapped up its verification process Thursday of the initiative to put the city's arena financing plan on the November ballot.

The official count of valid signatures that Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (STOP) turned in is 22,938, according to the county. They needed 22,000 signatures for it to qualify for the ballot. This gives the group a slim margin of error should City Clerk Shirley Concolino decide any of the signatures need to be tossed out.

As reported last week, Concolino has the final say as to whether this thing ends up qualifying. Her office is currently ensuring that the petition meets the requirements of the city charter and the election code.

Aaron Bruski reported Thursday that Concolino's office is trying to figure out the number of signatures STOP gathered between June 20 and September 17-18, which is interesting timing.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Breaking Sac Arena - City Clerk has asked Sac Co RoV to disclose how many petitions were obtained between 6/20 and 9/17-18.</p>&mdash; Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) <a href="">January 24, 2014</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>That, of course, is the time period in which Seattle's Chris Hansen secretly funded most of the anti-arena campaign's money.</p>&mdash; Aaron Bruski (@aaronbruski) <a href="">January 24, 2014</a></blockquote>

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The pro-arena group The4000 has been claiming that STOP turned in multiple versions of the petition and has called on the city clerk to reject some of the signatures for violating election code. Now that the county has concluded the verification process of the 35,247 signatures STOP turned in last month, the city clerk will be able to validate how many versions of the petition there are. Concolino told Sactown Royalty Thursday that she expects to confirm that number and make her final determination of the validity of the petition on Friday.

Regardless of the final decision Concolino makes, this thing continues to look like it is headed for the courts.

In other news, the Sacramento Kings finalized a deal to purchase Downtown Plaza from JMA Thursday. The transaction is a key development in the process for the team and the city to move forward on the plans for the new downtown arena. Construction is expected to begin in September/October.

Here are some details of the purchase, via Ryan Lillis and Dale Kasler of The Sacramento Bee.

The exact purchase price was not available, but a deed of trust document filed with the Sacramento County recorder's office shows the Kings borrowed $35 million from Goldman Sachs Bank last week in connection with the Downtown Plaza transaction. The document says the NBA approved the borrowing.

JMA will continue the management of Downtown Plaza and will partner with the Kings on the "design and development of a lifestyle mixed-use project" around the proposed new arena that is slated to include office towers, a hotel, housing and retail, according to a company news release. JMA and the Kings have submitted entitlement applications with the city for that work.

For more arena-related stories, click here.