San Francisco Rumors
Golden State Warriors President Rick Welts still will have a reason to celebrate if his team doesn’t win the NBA championship: he’s been named as the celebrity grand marshal of San Francisco’s gay pride parade. The San Francisco Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Pride Celebration Committee announced Monday that it had selected the 58-year-old sports executive for the honor previously enjoyed by such notables as singer Cyndi Lauper, actor Cheyenne Jackson and transgender activist Chaz Bono.
But, a former financial advisor he’s suing in Bexar County for more than $1 million wants a federal judge to force Duncan to arbitration in California, or to move a portion of the suit to Colorado. U.S. District Judge Xavier Rodriguez has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday to take up motions by defendant Charles Banks, who says the investment agreements Duncan signed specify that all disputes over Duncan’s investments in hotel and winery businesses must go to arbitration in San Francisco or Los Angeles.
Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber made a public commitment soon after buying the team from Cohen in 2010 that they would privately finance a new arena, without any money from Bay Area municipalities, in San Francisco. The costs of the new building and surrounding developments in the Mission Bay area of the city are estimated at $1 billion. Lacob and Guber spent $450 million on the team and they’re committing up to a billion for the new digs. They have to start making their money back at some point.
In 1988, the Pistons moved even further north — 31 miles north of Detroit on Interstate 75 — to Auburn Hills, where auto-affiliated companies like BorgWarner, the parts manufacturer, and Autoliv, which makes seatbelts, airbags and other safety products, have their corporate headquarters. “It certainly went from being a blue-collar crowd at the Silverdome to a white-collar crowd,” said Joe Dumars, who played 13 seasons in Detroit after being drafted by the Pistons in 1986. “We used to always acknowledge that. The Silverdome crowd were the assembly workers who built the cars, and the Palace crowd was the executives of the auto companies.” But the move to Auburn Hills was nonetheless a financial boon for the franchise.
The new arena will seat 18,000, less capacity than the 19,500-plus that have sold out 133 consecutive games at Oracle. There are local groups that oppose building at the new site, which is near a children’s hospital, because of concerns about egress to the hospital on game nights. But the city issued an 800-page environmental impact study on Friday that claimed it would be able to handle the additional traffic that would develop in the area if the arena — scheduled to open for the 2018-19 season — gets final approval.
The teams’ departure is by no means fait accompli, but the Warriors have a foot out the door – they hope to start playing in San Francisco by 2018 – and the current attempts to keep the Raiders and A’s in town with separate facilities have no clear financing, to the point Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley calls them “a longshot.”