Sacramento Mayor's Arena Task Force Was Largely Funded By NBA Kings
A task force formed last year by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson to develop a financing plan for a new basketball arena "was funded in large part by one of the parties with whom city officials would end up negotiating: the Sacramento Kings," according to a front-page piece by Ryan Lillis of the SACRAMENTO BEE. The agreement stipulated that 10% of "the millions of dollars in corporate sponsorships the mayor helped raise for the franchise last spring would be funneled into his Think Big committee." None of the donations "were revealed until months after negotiations between the city and the Kings owners had collapsed." Documents filed with the city clerk show that is "well beyond the state deadline for local officials to report such donations." As a result, the California Fair Political Practices Commission "is examining Johnson's network of nonprofits." Records show that the "largest benefactor of Johnson's fundraising over the past 15 months has been his arena task force." Documents show that between June '11 and March '12, the Kings "made $379,923 in donations to the Sacramento Public Policy Foundation." Officials said that "all of that money went to Think Big." The money "represented a cut of the $10 million in corporate sponsorships Johnson helped raise in spring 2011 to keep the Kings in town." Team and task force officials said that some companies "made their payments directly to the mayor's arena task force, while others paid the Kings the full share of their sponsorship deals and agreed to have the franchise transfer a 10 percent cut to Think Big." City clerk records show that the Kings organization "then made donations to the mayor's foundation in the form of behests." Johnson's name "appears in the records as the elected officer overseeing every behest made by the Kings" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 9/5).