Sonics Trial Blog
Seattle Times reporters Percy Allen, Jim Brunner and Danny O'Neil are filing updates from the courthouse throughout the day.
June 26, 2008 1:58 PM
Posted by Danny O'Neil
The Sonics trial resumed at 1:30 p.m. with Paul Lawrence, lead attorney for the city, having 30 minutes left to conclude his case. Lawrence began the afternoon session by emphasizing the uniqueness of the Sonics as a tenant. Having an NBA team is something that just can't be replaced.
"It can't be replaced with money and cannot be replaced with another tenant, with Ice Capades or other events," Lawrence said.
Lawrence also presented a timeline showing that city officials twice said the city intended to enforce the lease, first in July 2006 after Clay Bennett's group purchased the team and again in May 2007 when Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels rejected a buyout offer.
Lawrence drew the comparison to land disputes. In those cases, he pointed out, damages can be assessed in terms of specific performance and not based on fair-market value. In essence, the courts have decided that the purchaser has a special relationship with the land being bought. The connection there is that the city has a special relationship with its basketball-team tenant. And that's a relationship that can't simply be dealt with in monetary damages.
"Simply being awarded a dollar amount is not going to make the city equal to whatever benefits it perceives are associated with the team," Lawrence said. "You can't put a number to it."
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