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Sonics Trial Blog

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 19, 2008 7:44 AM

Day 3 scorecard: Bennett's "negligible" $100 million; up today, Sherman Alexie

Posted by Jim Brunner


KEY WITNESS: Clay Bennett finished up his time on the witness stand Wednesday. City attorney Paul Lawrence again sought to discredit Bennett's contribution to that $500 million arena he'd proposed in Renton. While Bennett said publicly that owners would kick in $100 million for the project, he privately described the contribution as "negligible." How could $100 million be negligible? Because, as Bennett said in e-mails, the owners' money would not come out of their pockets, but from advertising or ticket surcharges in the new arena. One e-mail even suggested Bennett's group would get "credit" against that amount for their ongoing operating losses. By contrast, Seahawks owner Paul Allen contributed $130 million up front to build Qwest Field.

ADVERTISERS BAIL: Sonics CEO Danny Barth testified that, not surprisingly, potential advertisers at KeyArena are spooked and not signing new deals. With $4.3 million in sponsorship business up for renewal, two large sponsors worth $1.1 million of that have said they won't come back, Barth said. "The main reason was they didn't want to be associated with all the turmoil that is going on, and they also indicated, one of them, that there was what they called 'arena fatigue,' that this has been going on for so long and it was time to get out."

OBJECTION SCORECARD: Advantage Sonics. Judge Marsha Pechman continues to be more impressed with the objections by Sonics' lawyers than those of the city. Brad Keller, the smooth-talking, silver-haired lead attorney for the team, even blocked the city from bringing up the "Save our Sonics" chants at the final game of the season. In one case, Pechman sustained an objection by city attorney Jeffrey Johnson, but she also told him he'd objected on the wrong legal grounds.

UP TODAY: Seattle will call economist Lon Hatimaya, who says the Sonics contribute about $188 million a year to the local economy. Author and avid Sonics fan Sherman Alexie is also expected to testify.


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July 2008

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Recent stories

Sonics attorneys focus on city's "poisoned well" plan
Bennett says Sonics could lose $60 million if forced to stay in Seattle 2 more years
Sonics CEO: Fans are apathetic
Clay's excuses sound as contrived as his arena plan
On the hot seat: Sonics' attorney trips up Nickels
Attorneys in Sonics case described as tenacious, polite
This judge will decide the fate of the Sonics
Seattle vs. Sonics: Trial starts next week, if there's no settlement
Take a closer look at the Sonics case
More revealing Sonics e-mails emerge
OKC officials inform Schultz they expect Sonics to relocate, no matter who owns team
Sonics e-mail hints at NBA's concern over breach of promise
Howard Schultz suit adds fuel to e-mail fire
NBA owners approve Sonics' move, but legal fight continues in Seattle
E-mails reveal Sonics owners intended to bolt from Seattle
Oklahoma House passes tax package designed to help lure Sonics

Documents

2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
Ward: "Are we doomed to have another lameduck season in Seattle?" (PDF)
Bennett's e-mail to Stern: "You are just one of my favorite people on earth" (PDF)
Clay Bennett and Sonics' court filing (PDF)

Multimedia

Gallery | Seattle SuperSonics: Lasting memories
Gallery | Bittersweet night for Sonics fans
Gallery | Sonics through the years
Gallery | 25th anniversary of Sonics world championship
Gallery | End of a Season, End of a Franchise?
Sports fan "Big Lo" seeks answers from Howard Schultz

Fans weigh in about the state of the Sonics
Cartoon | Schultz jumps into action
Talk about the team in the Sonics forum

Other links

Trial coverage from www.newok.com
ESPN.com | Hope (still) springs in Seattle