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Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.

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June 16, 2008 10:43 AM

Nickels testifies that Bennett's reaction to renovating KeyArena "wasn't much of a reaction"

Posted by Percy Allen

At 10:13 a.m., Mayor Greg Nickels took the stand and answered questions from one of the city's lawyers, Jeffrey Johnson of K&L Gates. Nickels is the first witness in the trial.

Nickels described his first meeting with Clay Bennett. The mayor said he presented Bennett with options about renovating KeyArena and "the reaction was, there wasn't much of a reaction."

Nickels said in May 2007, he was approached by the Sonics owners about a buyout, but he said he wasn't interested.

In July 2007, Bennett made an offer to meet with Nickels face to face. The meeting never took place because Nickels said he read in newspaper reports that Bennett said: "If my intention was to talk about KeyArena, it wasn't something he wanted to talk about."

Bennett responded by saying: "If he wanted to talk about a buyout it wasn't worth the cost of a plane ticket."

The next communication between Nickels and Bennett was a series of legal filings. Bennett filed a resolution to the lease and the city responded with its lawsuit.

Johnson asked: "Can the Sonics be replaced by having a college team?"

Nickels replied: "Not the role that the Sonics play." Nickels said the city benefits from the Sonics.

At 10:30 a.m., Johnson tried to introduce a letter from the owner of Sport Bar and Grill and get Nickels to expound on his belief that the Sonics play a key role to city. But Sonics attorney Brad Keller objected and Judge Marsha Pechman upheld the objection.

Before Johnson could get into another line of questioning, Pechman broke for recess at 10:31. The trial will resume at 10:45.

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July 2008

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