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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

City Lawyers Will Question Bennett Today

posted by on June 17 at 8:55 AM


NBA Commissioner David Stern with Sonics Owner Clay Bennett.

Hopefully the city’s lawyers will ask Sonic’s owner Clay Bennett today why he never tried to re-negotiate the lease at KeyArena.

This question seems central to the case. Yesterday, Bennett’s lawyers made a big deal about how the terms of the lease were “economically dysfunctional” and did not allow the Sonics to be a financially successful franchise.

However, rather than trying to deal with that problem over the last two years, Bennett simply tried to build a new stadium—which, to continue with Bennett’s attorneys’ own marriage analogy from yesterday, would be like trying to save your marriage by going out and looking for a hotter mate.

Bennett’s lawyers spent a lot of time yesterday establishing that KeyArena is an inadequate stadium (kind of irrelevant); that the economics on the ground have changed since they signed the lease (kind of irrelevant); and again, that the lease itself wasn’t viable.

However, they’ve never talked about any effort to try and re-negotiate that lease.

The city’s lawyers wrapped up yesterday’s session by asking rhetorically: “Is there anything in the lease that says the Sonics can get out of the lease early if NBA standards change, if they’re losing money, if a football stadium is built, if a baseball stadium is built?”

They should continue this line of questioning today with the obvious follow-up: Mr. Bennett, why didn’t you make a pass at renegotiating the lease?

I’ll report back after I watch Bennett’s testimony.

Yesterday’s basketball court coverage here, here, and here.

RSS icon Comments


Hopefully the city’s lawyers will read slog today before questioning as they did yesterday.

Posted by cochise. | June 17, 2008 9:03 AM

That's a great picture of David Stern fondling Bennett's jewels.

Posted by Joe M | June 17, 2008 9:26 AM

bennett may not enjoy today, but he's going to win this eventually, and the suck ass sonics will be gone. he'll be hailed as a hero in his home cowtown, and he'll never have to come back to seattle again.

5 years from now, OKC will probably regret handing him the key's to the city's finances.

Posted by max solomon | June 17, 2008 9:37 AM


Assuming he did try to renegotiate the lease, there's no way of showing what the eventual deal would be or whether there would have been one -- total speculation.

And btw that marriage analogy sucks -- contracts aren't like marriage and can say things like "you have to stay and lease this and we get specific performance as a remedy" -- you don't get specific performance in a marriage, too bad for everyone not getting any --

I suspect there is no part of the lease that says "unless this becomes a bad deal for either one of us" .....if you can imply that kind of clause in a lease then no lease means anything.

Um why do we want the city to win anyway we can't support a team without public subsidies?

Posted by PC | June 17, 2008 10:49 AM

for being a bazillionaire, bennett sure has
a. terrible taste in clothes
b. one of the all time worst haircuts i have ever seen.

you'd think when you don't have to actually work and have oodles of cash lying about, you can get someone other than your wife to cut your friggin hair. it's just hideous.

Posted by holz | June 17, 2008 12:30 PM

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