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Report: Seattle investor Hansen unveiled as anti-arena donor

By Royce Young | NBA writer

The city of Seattle missed out on its chance to get the NBA back when the league's Board of Governors voted in favor of the Kings remaining in Sacramento.

A big reason why the league felt that way? Because Sacramento had put together an arena plan to build a new facility.

However, Seattle investor Chris Hansen, who spearheaded the city's attempt to bring the NBA back, has been giving a lot of money to try and prevent that Sacramento arena from happening. Via the Sacramento Bee:

Chris Hansen, the Seattle investor who tried to buy the Sacramento Kings earlier this year, was unmasked today as the mystery donor behind the petition campaign seeking to derail the Kings' proposed new downtown arena.

Hansen's involvement in donating $80,000 to a group gathering signatures in Sacramento was revealed by a source this afternoon. The revelation came one day after the state's political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, sued the Los Angeles law firm that wired $80,000 to the signature-gathering campaign. The lawsuit demanded to know the identity of the donor. A court hearing had been scheduled for Monday.

To recap that: That's $80,000 given to a group that's collected petition signatures to prevent the arena from happening. Initially, the thinking was the Maloof Family was the mystery donor as the money was wired through their law firm, but it turns out to be Hansen.

A volunteer group called S.T.O.P. -- Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork -- has been gathering signatures to try and stop the new arena by forcing a public vote on the $258 million arena. S.T.O.P. would need 22,000 signatures to have the issue put on a ballot.

Hansen initially was sold the Kings by the Maloofs, but after a grassroots effort and a new ownership group stepped up, Hansen withdrew his bid when the league blocked relocation and the Maloofs sold the team to the Vivek Ranadive group for $535 million.

The move is a pretty dirty one, as the situation between Sacramento and Seattle seemed to have been settled with the league's vote. Especially considering the effort the city of Sacramento put in to keep the Kings in town. And it would seem Hansen would agree with that assessment, as he regretted trying to swipe the Kings.

"It kind of made me sick to my stomach," Hansen said, via the Sac Bee.

I wonder how he feels now.

 
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