Mayor, Maloofs meeting in New York to salvage arena deal

The SportsXchange

For the second year in a row, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson flew to New York during the NBA board of governors meeting over the future of the city's franchise.

Johnson met Friday with the owners, the Maloofs brothers, who have balked at many items in their handshake agreement with the city for a new arena, according to The Sacramento Bee.

The Sacramento mayor and former NBA point guard did not comment on the trip, but his office said the city will not renegotiate with team on arena details.

Last April, the Maloofs asked the NBA to allow them to move the franchise to Anaheim, Calif., before Johnson convinced the owners to give them a year to carve out an arena project. Following the February NBA All-Star Game, Johnson, the Maloofs and Stern joyfully announced in Orlando they reached an agreement for $391 million arena near downtown Sacramento.

Despite approval by the city council, the arena project has hit a number of snags during the past two weeks. The Maloofs released a letter to the city outlining flaws in the agreement and discussed those issues Thursday with the other owners at the NBA meetings.

The meeting, at the urging of NBA Commissioner David Stern, occurs of after two weeks of disagreements that began when the Maloofs said their never agreed to pay $3.2 million in pre-development costs that were specified in the term sheet. The Maloofs also filed a Public Records Act request for all correspondence between the city, the NBA and AEG, an arena investor which has agreed to run the facility.

City officials alleged that the Maloofs have been trying to undermine the project. Also, 25 Sacramento business leaders sent a letter to Stern on Thursday asking that the NBA strip the Maloofs of the ownership. Stern has said the league is unable to take such an action.
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