Forum: City Duped Venue On Clippers Arena

Madison Square Garden Company filed a claim against the city of Inglewood, Calif., for quietly entering into a deal to potentially build a new Los Angeles Clippers arena just down the street from the 

The Refurbished Forum
Damian Dovarganes/AP, file
– The Refurbished Forum

Forum officials say in a July 19 complaint that Inglewood Mayor James Butts persuaded them to give up their leasehold in April on part of a parking lot to make way for a new business-technology park. But in June city officials announced an agreement to exclusively negotiate with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer for a 20,000-seat arena not two miles south.

The arrangement gives the parties three years to put forth and agree upon a proposal to build an arena across from the NFL stadium being built for the Chargers and Rams.

“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’” Latham & Watkins partner Marvin Putnam told Torrance Daily Breeze. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”

The claim serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. According to the complaint, documents state that anything put on the parking lot space relinquished by MSG would not be in direct business conflict with the Forum, the Breeze reported.

“We, along with the hundreds of hardworking men and women who work to bring top-flight entertainment events to the Forum, are stunned that the city is moving forward with a plan that is in direct conflict with its existing and clear-cut written commitments to our venue,” Forum officials stated.

Ballmer reportedly wants to move the Clippers out of the  in downtown Los Angeles, which also home to the NBA’s Lakers.

The Clippers’ L.A. lease is up in 2024.

Butts said in June that the Ballmer deal wasn’t brought to light sooner because it didn’t need to be.

“There’s plenty of time to engage the community if we decide it necessary,” Butts said, according to the paper. “(This is the) same process we did for MSG and the Forum. In fact, for the Forum, there was no community stakeholder outreach.” The city council called for a special meeting to redo its June 15 approval of the exclusive-negotiating agreement.

Forum attorneys say they will press forward with a lawsuit if the city doesn’t cancel the deal. “We believe fraud has been committed here,” Putnam told the Breeze