Clippers-Inglewood Discussions May Have Started As Early As June '16
Discussions between the Clippers and the City of Inglewood regarding construction of an arena "started several months earlier than previously disclosed," according to court documents cited by Nathan Fenno of the L.A. TIMES. Emails "contradict public statements and court filings" on behalf of Inglewood and Mayor James Butts Jr. Clippers investor Dennis Wong "emailed developer Chris Meany" in June '16 "under the subject heading 'Inglewood site #3.'" Then a year later came the "announcement of Inglewood’s three-year exclusive negotiating agreement with the Clippers." The email is "included in a declaration by an attorney" for MSG as part of a lawsuit "accusing Inglewood of violating California’s Public Records Act in connection with the arena plan." Butts "told constituents in a newsletter at the time" that negotiations with the Clippers started in January '17. That date "changed to April 2017 in later court filings by the city." Inglewood attorney Skip Miller said that the '16 discussions were "about the Clippers building an arena on the site of the old Hollywood Park racetrack." Miller said that Butts "rejected the proposal." Fenno notes Clippers Owner Steve Ballmer has "expressed his desire for the team to have its own arena because of its low priority on booking dates and the lack of corporate sponsorship opportunities as a tenant at Staples Center, sharing the venue with the Lakers and Kings." The Clippers' lease runs through '24 (L.A. TIMES, 10/12).