Chris Hansen stories pop up every so often to remind us that he’s still out there. He want to reassure supporters that he’s not done yet. Recently, he sat down with Chris Daniels for a long interview for KING5.
Chris Daniels with Chris Hansen
“We ended up losing $30 million dollars in the process, we thought we had the team moving here. It was tough, losing it,” he says, reflecting on his failed purchase and relocation of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings.
Of course, that was due to his relatively without-precedent maneuver of using a non-refundable deposit with his purchase agreement for an NBA franchise.
“It was a mistake. I apologized to the people of Sacramento,” he counters, “There was nothing illegal being done. The law firm representing us, did not handle the donation correctly.”
Actually, not filing your disclosure of a major donation is illegal. They use the same rule for filing taxes… even if your tax preparer dies and doesn’t file, it’s your responsibility to do so. The recipient committee not filing a disclosure of the donation is also illegal. While the SacBee obtained preliminary filings that does not actually conform to the rules for committee name, to date, you still can’t find paperwork for the PAC registered as “Citizens for a Voice in Government, Major Funding By Hedge Fund Manager”.
Hansen was in Seattle for the Thanksgiving holiday and appeared at a special event on the Eastside. He says he’s had meetings, including visiting with Seattle’s Mayor-Elect Ed Murray.
“I haven’t had a chance to meet with the new council member (Sawant). I have had a chance to meet with Murray, and we look forward to working with him, he seems like a reasonable person,” said Hansen.
I’m sure that the incoming Mayor is going to play nice for a while. Certainly in this puff piece Mr Daniels is not going to push on how Chris expects Sawant to further vote for handing tax money to mulch-billionaire Ballmer and hedge fund manager Hansen’s sports palace with no guaranteed profit. I really don’t see that happening.
Mike McGinn with Brian Callanan
Soon to be ex-Mayor McGinn was on a November Ask the Mayor and was given slow-pitch questions about the arena and I-91.
I’m happy to see McGinn pedaling off into the sunset without another 4 years. I, personally, had preferred Steinbrueck in the primary, but Ed Murray still satisfied my “Anyone But McGinn” desire.
Sonics Without Subsidies
A new group, Sonics Without Subsidies, organized and emerged mid-November with a report outlining how they account for the proposed arena getting $731 million from the public, despite McGinn’s saying “it won’t cost the public anything”. If you want to see some white-washing by Chris Daniels, listen to the audio here. Art Theil did a decent job summarizing their study’s findings, but I would encourage you to look through the source material here. At FieldofSchemes, author and semi-professional sports-stadium subsidy tracker Neil deMause took issue with the accounting by Sonics Without Subsidies, but wildly speculative numbers and inaccurate accounting are really par for the course with figuring who pays for sports stadia. Oftentimes, it ends really badly for the backer of the bonds.
Meanwhile, In Sacramento….
Sacramento has been busily proceeding forward with their planning and acquisition for their downtown arena. The signatures that were gathered with Hansen’s money are, to the best of my knowledge, still in the hands of Sacramento’s anti-arena group STOP. This morning, the Sacramento Bee had a story announcing 40,000 signatures were being submitted. They need about 22,000 that are legit. They say they have about 40,000… Crown Downtown says about 14,000 signatures are being rescinded through their own efforts with “oops, please withdraw me from that petition I signed, petitions” and Chris Hansen’s donation ended up paying for 18,000 signatures to be gathered, which he then asked if they could be returned… which they weren’t. Marcos Brenton doesn’t mince words (“There are certain terms that fit Seattle billionaire Chris Hansen to a T. But the best ones are not fit for a family newspaper.”) but he forgets that Hansen has produced no evidence that he himself is a billionaire and he currently (and for the past many years) lives in the rolling hills of Tiburon California.
UPDATE: And, the signatures are in. It’s going to be a long, complicated count for some people at city hall.
video after the jump because it autoplays