Slog News & Arts

Line Out

Music & Nightlife

« Stupid Fucking Credulous Hack ... | Sounds a Little Bit Like My Co... »

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Decision in Sonics Case Due Today at 4pm

posted by on July 2 at 9:30 AM

Yesterday afternoon, I slogged that if Judge Marsha Pechman rules against the city— that is, if she rules the Sonics can break their lease and bolt to OK City because of the city’s Machiavellian subterfuge—Sonics fans should blame captain sneaky, Deputy Mayor Tim Cies.

I’d like to add: If she rules the Sonics have to stay, three cheers to City Attorney Tom Carr who filed this suit against the NBA’s bloated business model last year. Here’s hoping (fantasy) he lands on the cover of Sports Illustrated and USA Today and the NYT and on Good Morning America in a laudatory story about Seattle, the city that set the precedent against David Stern’s blackmail.

I do hope Judge Pechman realizes the Sonics still owe the city about $15 million—not in future rent or in outstanding bond payments—but in back money the city was supposed to get in the revenue sharing deal. With an average price of $40, that’s worth about 385,000 tickets. It’d take about two seasons to hand out that many tickets.

Pechman should not only rule that the Sonics have to honor the lease and play two more seasons at KeyArena, but she should make them fulfill the lease’s revenue sharing mandate by making them give the public $15 million worth in free tickets. The public would finally get what it wanted when it agreed to fork over $74 million dollars in 1994 for KeyArena: the chance to go to a basketball game.

Ruling today at 4pm. My previous Sonics trial slogging here:

Blame Deputy Mayor Tim Ceis

There’s No Out Clause in the Lease for the NBA’s Bloated Business Model

Closing Arguments

Ceis Not Allowed to Testify

Porn for Lawyers

Ceis’s Testimony Could be Crucial to City’s Case

Team Bennett Reveals City’s “Machiavellian” Plot

Sherman Alexie’s Press Conference

Sonic Nick Collison Likes Pizza

Bennett’s Lawyers Taunt City’s Expert Witness

Bennett Grilled on “I’m a Man Possessed” Emails

City Will Question Bennett Today

Whoa! The City Strikes Back

Mayor Nickels Flubs it on the Stand

My Suggested Remedy: Free Sonics Tickets

RSS icon Comments


God I can't wait for this to be over. Maybe then you'll have something interesting to post.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 2, 2008 9:43 AM

What would interest you, Mr Poon?

Posted by Shaniqua | July 2, 2008 10:02 AM

Anything but the Sonics. The Sonics aren't even interested in the Sonics.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 2, 2008 10:12 AM

Josh why would the Sonics owe revenue sharing? Wasn't the deal that they would share revenue from the new posh seating that didn't sell, therefore there was little revenue to share?

The question the city should have asked current and past Sonic owners: Would the contract have allowed the Sonics to leave at any time by only paying the base rent? Could the Sonics have left in 1997 saying the deal for revenue sharing and the specific performance clause that induced the city to make the deal no longer was in effect?

Posted by ouch | July 2, 2008 10:21 AM

Josh...this little game where you keep introducing the idea that the City could be compensated by free tix is bullshit. As a taxpayer of Seattle, I'd find such a solution to be the worst-possible outcome.

If you want tix, then go buy tix. A large proportion of the citizens of Seattle just want our money where we can put it to more important use around the City.

...and, Tom Carr on the cover of Sports Illustrated? Perhaps if the City had fought this case with a unified voice against the NBA, then we might see that story line. As it is, Mr. Mayor and Ceis have been diluting that message for months.

Send the Sonics packing, and put a bull-dog of a collector on their ass until we've been reimbursed every penny we're owed. Anything short of that will be further corporate welfare given to the NBA.

Posted by Timothy | July 2, 2008 10:37 AM

Josh - So, down with Ceis, up with Carr? Really? Am I reading that right? Really? Ceis = incompetent loser; Carr = superstar? Really? Quick! Someone call Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern! Josh is stuck in Bizzaro World and he needs their help to get out! Either that or I'm stuck in Bizzaro World. Help! Help!

Posted by Lionel Hutz | July 2, 2008 10:50 AM

u are unemployed

Posted by hahaha! | July 2, 2008 10:54 AM

It all comes down to whether the judge is all about contracts, or all about being pro-monied-interests.

If she's all about contracts, the Sonics will be forced to live by the terms of their contract.

If she's about the money, we'll be ripped off yet again.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 2, 2008 10:56 AM

and, Mr Poe for the win @1.

Posted by Will in Seattle | July 2, 2008 10:58 AM

I don't understand -- why would anyone want to keep in town a team whose ownership wants to leave? That can't be good for anyone.

Posted by Fritz | July 2, 2008 11:03 AM

@10 - I agree. As if this season wasn't pathetic enough, the city wants two more years of a lame-duck, non-competitive team with zero fan interest? Really?

There are only two satisfactory outcomes:
1. New owners sell the team (not gonna happen)
2. They leave immediately and the city gets paid (hopefully more than the owners were offering by at least the amount of our legal fees for the lawsuit).

Posted by Mahtli69 | July 2, 2008 11:07 AM

@10 and @11;

The two years (or even just one more year) gives us time to find a way to keep basketball in the city. NBA can avoid a serious public relations nightmare by giving a new team to Seattle or Oklahoma (a variety of different scenarios can create this).

Bottom line: if the city loses this case, then goodbye to the sonics immediately and NBA basketball is gone for a looooong time (eg. Kansas City and San Diego).

Mr. Poe, you should consider something else to occupy your prodigious slogging time.

Posted by cw | July 2, 2008 11:45 AM

I do whatever the hell I want, and I get away with it, a'thank you.

Posted by Mr. Poe | July 2, 2008 11:53 AM

@10 and 11, both Mariners and Seahawks owners wanted to leave at times. Was it not worth the effort to keep those teams here?

And if I hear "But the Sonics suck!" one more time, I'll puke. Teams suck. Franchises, on the other hand, have great years AND terrible years. If the Sonics leave, we're losing a franchise, not just the current team of hacks.

Posted by joykiller | July 2, 2008 12:54 PM

@14 -- no, IMO, it was not worth the effort to keep the Mariners or Seahawks. But I'm not a sports-watcher so I'm basically just pissed at having to subsidize their businesses with my tax money.

And, no, there will not be a "PR disaster" if the Sonics depart -- the NFL seemed to survive not having a team in LA, for example.

If you want an NBA team in Seattle, then let the Sonics go and petition to get an NBA franchise with owners who want to stay. But 2 years of lame-duck ball seems incredibly stupid. Is that what you really want to shell out $$$ to go see?

Posted by Fritz | July 2, 2008 1:03 PM

Josh: Here's hoping the city gets didly/squat, so that every city in the nation learns that pro sports teams aren't worth the bother -- they are traffic and financial nightmares.

Will in Seattle: You are trying to set yourself up to believe that, if the judge doesn't require specific performance, she must be corrupt, but it's not that simple. Go read the Wikipedia entry on "Specific Performance" (no, I didn't edit it), and you will see that it is almost never imposed. As a matter of common law tradition, every contract has a moneary value and can be broken by paying that ammount.

Posted by David Wright | July 2, 2008 2:56 PM

Word to Timmothy @ 5. The sooner as the Sonics pack up and leave, the sooner Sherman Alexie will conclude that Seattle has no soul and follow them. Then the rest of us can stop reading his drivle and get back to gentrifying Ballard and enjoying our sushi and mega-yachts.

Posted by David Wright | July 2, 2008 3:03 PM

Josh - are you paying attention? This case will not decide how much the Sonics owe the city. That's a separate issue - not to be decided at 4pm today.

The reporting about the case has mentioned this a couple of times.

So whether Judge Carr rules that the Sonics have to pay or play (or both) won't decide how much.

It's like how "sentencing" is a different part of criminal trials than "guilty or not guilty"

Posted by jcricket | July 2, 2008 3:32 PM

Comments Closed

Comments are closed on this post.