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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 20, 2008 3:28 PM

Griffin says goal was to keep team at Seattle Center

Posted by Percy Allen

The late afternoon session began with Seattle developer Matt Griffin on the witness stand fielding questions from Seattle attorney Paul Lawrence.

Earlier in the day, Griffin said a group that included K&L Gates attorney Slade Gorton adopted a plan to force Sonics owner Clay Bennett to sell the team. Under cross-examination, Griffin said forcing Bennett to sell was not the only option. In a document, he referred to Microsoft Steve Ballmer, who was going to buy the team and fund a portion of KeyArena renovations, as "reluctantant white knight."

Griffin said former Safeco president Mike McGavick authored the "Sonics Challenge: Why a Poisoned Well Affords a Unique Opportunity" power point presentation.

Lawrence examined Exhibit 576, an e-mail from Gorton to Griffin and others.

Griffin said he was willing to buy the Sonics along with Ballmer, wireless magnate John Stanton and Costco CEO Jim Sinegal. He said the group had three options. 1.) Bennett and his group would stay at KeyArena. 2.) Bennett would sell the Sonics. 3.) Another team would move to KeyArena.

Griffin said his group committed $150 million toward a $300 million KeyArena renovation.

Griffin said he never met with Mayor Greg Nickels about the city's legal plans.

Lawrence asked: "Did you and Mr. Ballmer want to bleed Clay Bennett or did you want to get a team in Seattle Center?"

"We clearly wanted a team in Seattle Center," Griffin said.

At 3:26 p.m. Lawrence concluded.

Under redirect, Sonics attorney Brad Keller asked what efforts Griffin made to get another NBA team.

"We didn't think we could get another NBA team without a renovated KeyArena," Griffin said.

Lawrence asked if Griffin had ever spoke to Bennett about KeyArena.

"No," Griffin said.

At 3:29 p.m., Griffin was excused and City Councilmember Nick Licata was being questioned by Keller.

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July 2008

June 2008

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2007 "Poisoned Well" document (PDF)
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Clay Bennett and Sonics' court filing (PDF)


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Trial coverage from | Hope (still) springs in Seattle