Sacto Arena Deal Ripped

A Sacramento County grand jury report accuses city and county officials of deceiving the public and pandering to the Sacramento Kings regarding a failed plan to build an arena for the NBA team.

Officials say the report is based on opinion, not fact. The city agreed last July to build a projected $470 million to $542 million arena, pending voter approval, with team owners Maloof Sports & Entertainment contributing $122 million.

Voters shot down two proposals in November, killing the project, and the Kings extended a naming rights agreement BP petroleum, which owns Arco, to continue using the Arco Arena name.

The report titled "The Kings and City and County of Sacramento: Betrayal in the Kingdom?" doesn’t offer hard evidence that officials were less than aboveboard with the public on the deal but did provide plenty of thoughts as to why it failed.

Sacramento County Supervisor Roger Dickinson said the report is misleading.

"This is one of my concerns about what goes on with the grand jury in many instances," Dickinson told the Sacramento Bee. "They either fail to understand or choose not to understand what the true facts are, or they make findings and recommendations that are either inaccurate or not helpful."

Grand jury foreman Don Prange declined to comment to the paper outside of saying, "That’s the report as it stands."

A copy of the report obtained by Pollstar says officials involved in the deal with Maloof Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Kings and its current home, Arco Arena, deceivingly implied that an arena deal had already been made when measures Q and R were put on the ballot last November.

The plan to raise county sales tax to pay for the new facility, which required a simple voter majority to pass, failed.

"Had a deal been made as outlined, the city and county were ready to give away the entire revenue stream from the facility being proposed and pay for the facility. In fact, there was no deal and never had been," the report says. "The arena proponents postured in public over who walked away from the bargaining table or who went back on their word. There never was any deal to go back on. All the election hype and analyses were bogus!"

However, at the time, the arena proponents and officials stressed that many details of a deal were yet to be determined.

The arena was to be the anchor of a sports and entertainment district in downtown Sacramento’s vacant railyard.