The drive to force a public vote on the Sacramento Kings‘ arena deal pretty much blew up on Friday, when two of its leaders quit after revealing that lawyers for the team’s outgoing owners, the Maloof brothers, had provided $80,000 in funding for the campaign:
[Paul] Olson and Sacramento political consultant Tab Berg said in a joint press release that they were cutting ties with the campaign. Their resignations came two days after a complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that the signature campaign had not properly reported donations and expenditures.
“I have broken no laws, and I am not going to stand in front of those who refuse to take responsibility to try to throw my colleagues or I under the bus,” Berg said in an emailed statement that appeared alongside Olson’s comments.
So that’s good news for the Kings, since even if the campaign can recover from Olson and Berg’s departures, it’s going to be tough to recover from what Sacramento political consultant Doug Elmets calls “the taint of the Maloofs.” But because this is Sacramento, there’s bad news for the Kings as well: The team is having trouble buying the last piece of land it needs for the arena, and may have to ask the city to use its powers of eminent domain to force a sale. Which probably won’t be too hard — courts have been remarkably lenient about ruling private sports stadiums to be a “public purpose” in eminent domain cases — but it could be enough to slow things down a bit.