NBA Kings co-Owner Joe Maloof "reacted angrily Monday night after learning a Sacramento city official had sent a letter to an Anaheim city official advising Anaheim officials to 'cease negotiating with the Kings,'" according to Randy Youngman of the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER. Maloof, in his first public comments on the ongoing negotiations to move the Kings to Anaheim, said, "It's not for the mayor or anybody (in the City of Sacramento) to interfere with our business. That's what I think they're doing, and it's not right." Sacramento Assistant City Manager John Dangberg sent a letter earlier Monday to Anaheim City Manager Thomas Wood, "expressing concern that actions taken by the Anaheim City Council tonight might cause 'irreparable harm to the City of Sacramento.'" Dangberg in the letter also said that the Maloofs "had not provided 'assurance' they would pay off a $73.8 million loan from the City of Sacramento, as contractually required, if the team decided to relocate." Dangberg requested that Anaheim city officials "end negotiations related to the Kings' relocation and 'not authorize' the proposed $75 million in lease-revenue bonds to help the Kings move and to upgrade Honda Center." That agenda item is "expected to be voted on in Tuesday night's City Council meeting." Maloof said, "That letter is completely wrong, and it was uncalled for -- below the belt -- and it's a shame it had to come out of his office. We tried to be classy and not get in arguments in the media, but I (have to) make this comment." Youngman notes what "upset Maloof the most was the inference in the letter that the family ... might not repay the loan immediately if the team decides to relocate." Maloof said that he "believes the letter, on the eve of the important City Council meeting, was an attempt to 'block' the Kings' proposed move." He added, "You better be careful; don't mess around and interfere with our business" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 3/29).
PROTECTING THEIR INTERESTS: In Sacramento, Bizjak & Lillis reported city officials, "saying they are seeking to protect the city financially should the Kings leave town," have "hired a specialist law firm to help enforce a legal requirement that the Kings pay off their $67 million city loan." The City Council will be asked today to "authorize paying Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson up to $150,000 to study and advise the city on its legal ability to force the basketball team to pay off its city loan if the team leaves for Anaheim" (SACBEE.com, 3/28). Dangberg said, "We are protecting the interests of the city of Sacramento and the taxpayers of the city of Sacramento. We are not accusing anybody of doing anything. We are just stating the facts as they are." Dangberg's letter also "dangles the prospect of a lawsuit against Anaheim officials over alleged violations of the powerful California Environmental Quality Act" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 3/29).