Kevin Johnson set up secret government, asked Kings, Republic for donations during arena and stadium push

If you regularly read this site’s coverage of the Sacramento Kings arena saga, you may have the impression that Sacramento mayor (and former NBA great) Kevin Johnson will stop at nothing to get what he wants, whether it’s assembling his own prospective team ownership groups or coming up with bizarro-named astroturf organizations. But now, according to a long exposé in Deadspin, it appears his ruthlessness is way, way more extensive than anyone ever realized. Among the lowlights:

  • Johnson tried to take over the National Conference of Black Mayors to use it for his own ends, then when that failed, ran it into bankruptcy and set up his own competing black mayors’ group.
  • When the Sacramento News & Review issued a public records request over the black mayors’ group scandal, Johnson sued the newspaper and his own city to block the release of emails from his office. That case is still pending.
  • In the latest twist, KJ took advocates for charter schools (the crusade he shares with his wife, “Waiting for Superman” antihero Michelle Rhee) and gave them fake City Hall titles so they could work on his behalf during the black mayors putsch.
  • On the sports venue front, Johnson solicited campaign donations from the owners of both the Kings and Republic F.C. while seeking to build a new basketball arena and new soccer stadium for those teams.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the bit about Johnson being accused of sexually molesting multiple teenagers back in the ’90s, which is old news but worth remembering both because there shouldn’t be a statute of limitations on remembering stuff like this, and because it involved amazing secret recordings like this one:

Girl: “Well, I was naked and you were naked, and it wasn’t a hug.”

K.J.: “Well, I felt that it was, you know, a hug, and you know, I didn’t, to be honest, remember if we were both naked at that time. That is the night at the guesthouse?”

Girl: “Yeah. … Why would I be upset if it was just a hug?”

K.J.: “Well, I said the hug was more intimate than it should have been. But I don’t believe I touched your private parts in those areas. And you did feel bad the next day and that’s why we talked about it.”

Girl: “Well, if it was just a hug, why were either one of us naked?”

K.J.: “Again, I didn’t recall us being a hundred percent naked.”

Deadspin illustrated its latest piece with an image of KJ with devil horns drawn on. The site is known for being a bit over the top, obviously, but in this case, it seems like they’ve got it just about right.


9 comments on “Kevin Johnson set up secret government, asked Kings, Republic for donations during arena and stadium push

  1. I liked the article but the horns really do have racist connotations. We don’t really need that. Very tone-deaf.

    We do need KJ to go away, though. And to think some believe he has a real shot at being a governor in the future. God help us all.

  2. What’s really bugging me now is that ESPN is going to have a 30 for 30 about what a hero he is for committing all those tax dollars to a new arena. I don’t know if Bill Simmons would have greenlit that one.

  3. So, to recap, he’s on the Enemies List of:

    -Teachers unions
    -Left wing media
    -Mayors of failing cities
    -Shakedown artists

    Keep it up, KJ!

  4. You know, I was wondering what Ben was going to come up with to defend KJ on this one. Pretty good, though “shakedown artists” is a little weak for 15-year-old girls who were invited to shower with a grown NBA star (I guess “teenage tramps” sounded too archaic), and points off for using an enemies list to accuse people of compiling enemies lists.

    Unless that was intentionally ironic, in which case: Nice work, Ben!

  5. Ok. Did anyone else become nauseous reading that transcript…. OMG.

    Neil: I think it was Borat who suggested that wasn’t it?

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