HoopsHype George Maloof rumors

April 13, 2012 Updates
April 4, 2012 Updates

The dispute over who should cut the first checks for a downtown arena intensified Tuesday, with the leader of the state Senate saying that the owners of the Sacramento Kings "seem to be looking for every reason not to proceed" and the mayor accusing the Maloof family of "tactics and antics." The tension spilled into City Council chambers in the evening, when several council members questioned whether the Kings' owners were serious about partnering with the city after the team said it does not intend to pay a share of pre-development costs on the $391 million project. The council eventually approved moving forward with crucial pre-development work required for the arena by a 7-2 vote, agreeing to spend $200,000 provided by the NBA to fund that work over the next two weeks. Sacramento Bee

After a handshake deal was reached more than a month ago during NBA All-Star weekend in Orlando between Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, city officials and owners Gavin, Joe and George Maloof, a dispute over who cuts the first checks has arisen. It centers around the brothers contributing $3.2 million of pre-development costs for the $391 million entertainment complex to open in 2015. The city council voted 7-2 late Tuesday to accept $200,000 from the NBA to pay for environmental and architecture work to allow the project to begin. But it is only a reprieve for both sides to settle the dispute, or this arena project likely will die. USA Today

This covers the time period of the NBA's next Board of Governors meeting, in New York for several days next week, when Commissioner David Stern is expected to talk with both Sacramento sides in hopes of resolving the arena/franchise issue. The Maloofs say they never agreed to contribute to pre-development costs when they settled on a non-binding term sheet with Johnson and city officials. USA TODAY Sports is awaiting a response from the NBA, which said Stern is traveling and was unavailable for comment. The league, however, referenced Stern's statement from Friday: "Following the agreement in principle that was reached on February 27 among the City of Sacramento, AEG and the Kings for a new arena, the parties have been attempting to reach agreement on funding the pre-development expenses that must be incurred in order for the project to move forward in a timely fashion. Those discussions have stalled but I have advised Mayor Johnson that the NBA will advance pre-development expenses on behalf of the Kings pending our report to the NBA Board of Governors at its meeting on April 12-13." USA Today

March 31, 2012 Updates

SI.com: The Sacramento Bee had published a copy of the non-binding term sheet and it certainly seemed as if the family had agreed to pay that portion of the pre-development fees. What am I missing here? It certainly seemed as if this was something was agreed on before. Maloof: Absolutely not, and everybody knows it. And like I've told everybody today, if anybody says otherwise, then they're lying. From day one, that was an issue that we had. And there are other issues. That was one that we were vehemently against, for a couple of reasons. No. 1: As a developer -- and I've developed lots of properties -- you're used to paying those types of fees, those pre-development costs and consultants or architectural fees. I've never passed that fee onto my tenant, so it didn't make sense. I'm sure someplace in the world, a tenant has paid for a pre-development cost, but the customary way is that they don't pay for that. Not only that, but [the city] asked us to pay for AEG's cost if the deal didn't happen, and that's just not a fair deal. I just didn't believe that was fair from day one. SI.com

SI.com: The rumblings from your fans about you guys just not wanting to be in Sacramento and trying to get out started up pretty quickly again after the L.A. Times story broke. You feel like addressing that sentiment? Maloof: Not true. Absolutely not true. That's 100 percent not true. When we give our commitment to something, we're going to see it through. It doesn't mean that there's not going to be issues as we go along -- that's the normal course of business and that's the way it works. We're not secretly talking to anybody else nor would we do that. SI.com: No discussions in the background with Anaheim or anybody else? Maloof: No. Absolutely not. Absolutely not. SI.com

March 30, 2012 Updates

Building a new arena for the Sacramento Kings by the 2015 NBA season opener is fraught with challenges, the greatest of which may be the increasing skepticism of the team's owners that it can be accomplished. Documents reviewed by The Times this week show Kings owners Joe, Gavin and George Maloof dispute that they have a firm agreement to participate in a new entertainment and sports complex in the city. Additionally, in a Wednesday letter delivered to city leaders under the subject “ESC feasibility concerns,” the Maloofs’ attorney writes “unresolved issues regarding the … project remain … .” Los Angeles Times

The Sacramento City Council will be asked Tuesday to allocate $6.5 million in city funds to take another major step toward building a sports and entertainment arena in the downtown railyard. Five million dollars would come from profits the city made when it sold the Sheraton Grand Hotel several years ago. That money had been set aside to fund further downtown redevelopment. The remaining $1.5 million of the city's share would come from the city parking fund. The money will be used to finance predevelopment work for the facility, such as environmental studies and arena design. Sacramento Bee

The NBA today came to the rescue of Sacramento's arena deal, agreeing to advance about $200,000 in pre-development costs after the Kings' owners balked at paying the money. This money represents the first installment of the Kings' share of pre-development costs totalling $3.26 million. NBA Commissioner David Stern, in a statement to The Bee, said those pre- development expenses must be paid quickly. "Those discussions have stalled, but I have advised Mayor Johnson that the NBA will advance pre-development expenses on behalf of the Kings pending our report to the NBA Board of Governors at its meeting on April 12-13." Sacramento Bee

Early Thursday afternoon, the Sacramento Bee reported that the Maloofs are resisting paying predevelopment costs associated with constructing the proposed downtown arena. NBA Commissioner David Stern then issued the following statement: Following the agreement in principle that was reached on Feb 27 among the City of Sacramento, AEG & the Kings for a new arena, the parties have been attempting to reach agreement on funding the pre-development expenses that must be incurred in order for the project to move forward in a timely fashion. Those discussions have stalled but I have advised Mayor Johnson that the NBA will advance pre-development expenses on behalf of the Kings pending out report to the NBA Board of Governors at its meeting on April 12-13. Cowbell Kingdom

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson also issued a statement of his own late this evening: The success of the new entertainment and sports complex depends on complete trust and partnership among all parties. It was with that spirit that we all agreed to a deal in Orlando including the Maloof family, who looked an entire room in the eye and promised their commitment to Sacramento. In light of the Maloofs’ promise, we fully expect all parties to live up to their commitments. Cowbell Kingdom

February 28, 2012 Updates

The city's decades-long fight for a new arena came down to a single question. It was Sunday afternoon, and Mayor Kevin Johnson sat across the negotiating table from the Maloof brothers, whose family has owned the Sacramento Kings since 1999. He looked them in the eye and asked, "Are you committed to Sacramento?" If they weren't, he said, there was no point continuing the talks. "Each of them, one after another, said, 'Yes, we want to be in Sacramento,' " the mayor recounted Monday, saying he hugged Joe, Gavin and George Maloof. "I knew at that point we had an excellent opportunity of making this deal happen." Sacramento Bee

There was some uncertainty leading up to that exchange. The Maloofs had met privately with NBA officials for hours on Sunday, as city officials huddled in a separate conference room or in the hallway. During those talks, the NBA laid out the proposed financing plan to the Kings owners – a plan the NBA and Sacramento officials had negotiated without the Maloofs' direct involvement. Sacramento Bee

The focus of those talks, according to interviews with multiple people briefed on the negotiations who were not authorized to speak publicly, was developing a plan to close a $35 million gap between what the city wanted from the Maloofs and what the family offered to put into the arena effort at the start of the weekend. That task got a bump from a phone call Monday morning. As negotiations stretched into a third day, Johnson called AEG, the giant arena operator the city is counting on to provide $50 million toward the project's cost in exchange for running the facility and collecting much of the revenue. The mayor asked AEG for more. The company agreed, pledging nearly $60 million. It's yet not clear what AEG got in exchange – city officials were reluctant to disclose all the details until legal wording is finalized for a "term sheet" to be released to the public Thursday. The AEG pledge was celebrated by high-fives handed out by Johnson, according to a source involved in the talks. Sacramento Bee

While Stern did not release details of that support, a source said he was indicating the league's willingness to provide a financial safety net to the Maloofs to help them come up with their share of upfront funding for an arena. With the phone call to AEG and the NBA's support in hand, it wasn't long into Monday's negotiating session – within the first hour, the mayor said – that "everyone in the room knew it was going to happen." "You want to celebrate," he said. "It's like you know you have more points than the other team, but there's still time on the clock and you can't celebrate quite yet." Sacramento Bee

February 27, 2012 Updates

The city and the Kings announced a tentative deal this morning to build a new arena in the downtown Sacramento railyard. More than half the money would come from leasing the city's parking to a private operator, but the team's owners say they've also agreed to pay $75 million upfront. George Maloof, the family member who pushed the hardest to move to Anaheim last year, said he believes the deal with Sacramento will allow the team to sustain itself financially for years in Sacramento, a small-market city. "We're going to have a new building, we'll be able to attract players. It will be much easier." "My family is making a major commitment. I think it is a fair deal. We gave a lot. Everybody had to give. Sometimes you have to take chances and we think this is worth taking." Sacramento Bee

Despite the talks going for more than seven hours Sunday, the Maloofs appeared a bit relieved. Even George cracked a smile when I asked them if they were on a “brothers’ walk.” Mayor Johnson believed forward progress had been made inside the conference rooms at the Waldorf Astoria. “I am excited where we are,” he said. “It is a very productive day for Sacramento. We have taken one step closer.” Johnson said the city and the Maloofs are in problem-solving mode, but declined to further expand on what continues to prevent a deal from being struck. “We do not want to get in that. It would not be healthy for any of us to negotiate in the public.” Cowbell Kingdom

Any rumor missing? E-mail us at   hoopshype@hoopshype.com.