Seattle investor Chris Hansen, whose group made an unsuccessful bid to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, was revealed as the mystery donor in a petition campaign that tried to derail the Kings' proposed new downtown arena, the Sacramento Bee reported.
A major reason the NBA voted in favor of keeping the Kings in Sacramento was because it put together a plan to build a new arena.
Hansen apparently had tried to ruin that plan, and presumably sway the NBA to approve the sale to his group, by donating $100,000 to a group gathering signatures in Sacramento to prevent the construction of the arena, the Bee reported.
His name was revealed as the contributor one day after the state's political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, sued the Los Angeles law firm that wired $80,000 to the signature-gathering campaign. The lawsuit demanded to know the identity of the donor.
A volunteer group called S.T.O.P. -- Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork -- has been getting signatures in an attempt to stop the new arena by forcing a public vote on the $258 million arena.
Hansen said he "made a mistake" by giving the Los Angeles law firm $100,000. The firm secretly funneled $80,000 of that to the group gathering signatures.
"While I'm sure everyone can appreciate how easy it is to get caught up the heat of battle, with the benefit of hindsight, this is clearly a decision I regret," Hansen said in a statement, according to ESPN.com. "I wish the city of Sacramento and Kings fans the best in their efforts and they have my commitment not to have any involvement in their arena efforts in the future."
Hansen also noted that the money came from him and the donation was not made not on behalf of the Seattle ownership group or its partners.
In May, NBA owners rejected Hansen's bid to purchase the Kings for $625 million.
Hansen withdrew his bid to buy the team when the league blocked relocation. The Maloofs sold the team to the Vivek Ranadive group for $535 million.