City Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis’s Testimony Next Week Could be Crucial to City’s Case
posted by June 20 at 17:56 PMon
Day Five of the Sonics trial ended with some pretty irrelevant testimony. Team Bennett called Woody Allenish City Council Member Nick Licata, the anti-sports stadium council member (it’s why he got elected in 1997), to show that a member of the Seattle City Council believed that the Sonics don’t have a major impact on Seattle’s economy! Yep—and that’s what Licata said he believed.
Licata, cool as a cucumber, pointed out that he was the lone member on the council with this view, and he understood that his POV was part of an ongoing debate about the issue. Yawn. He’ll be back to continue his testimony when the trial resumes next Thursday, June 26, and I imagine Bennett’s lawyers will “reveal” that Licata once told Sports Illustrated—as was published in Sports Illustrated—that he doesn’t think the Sonics have much of a cultural impact on the city.
The real news is still former Sonics CEO Wally Walker’s testimony earlier in the day (and real estate developer Matt Griffin’s testimony later on). Both men, under questioning from Bennett’s lawyers, showed that the group trying to renovate KeyArena and orchestrate a buyout—Griffin, Steve Ballmer, Slade Gorton, Mike McGavick, and John Stanton—was working in concert with the city’s lawsuit. It seemed, in fact, that the lawsuit was a weapon in the group’s plan to get Bennett to sell.
The key link is that the city hired Gorton as lead counsel in this case. Sloppy!
Today’s testimony showed that Gorton was deeply involved in pushing a “poisoned well” strategy, outlining the secret plan at a meeting at Walker’s house last October.
The city announced at the end of the day that Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis would be called to testify when the trial resumes on Thursday.
I imagine he’s being brought in to address the “dirty hands” argument that Team Bennett laid out today—the idea that the city’s suit is based on ulterior motives. While this doesn’t have anything to do with the debate over the “specific performance” lease (a specific performance contract is one that mandates the parties to fulfill the obligations of the contract by explicitly disallowing one party to break the contract with economic compensation) which is all that really matters in the case, it could corrupt the city’s case and cause Judge Pechman to just toss the whole thing.