Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The plot thickens

Until further notice, the Big 12 series is temporarily suspended, because of the battle for the Sonics. This means it will likely return in a few days.

But a story was dug up by Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times in 2007 that appears relevant. It's found here, and the key here is this phrase Brunner writes:

"It has been a year since the surprise announcement that Clay Bennett and a team of Oklahoma City investors had bought the Sonics and Storm from the local ownership group led by Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz.

As part of that purchase, Bennett signed an agreement requiring a "good-faith" effort until Oct. 31 to seal an arena deal here."

Until October 31. As in October 31, 2007. But the e-mails from Aubrey McClendon and Tom Ward to Clay Bennett are dated April 2007, the ones that clearly show that the group did not have any intentions of staying in Seattle. April 2007, as in six months before the deadline where relocation could actively be explored. And if Brunner is correct, Bennett SIGNED an agreement. Not gave his word verbally. It says he actually signed something.

Plus, you've got McClendon saying that even though he knows the group will make LESS money in Oklahoma City, they don't care, they want the team in OKC. It can't get much more obvious than that. The choice is profit in Seattle versus a loss in OKC--by McClendon's OWN ADMISSION--and they choose OKC.

It's not over yet. Seth Kolloen, who writes Enjoy Your Enjoyment, a fine blog about the state of sports in Seattle that had the post about the story on McClendon, came up with this gem about the Schultz re-entry. In it, he describes a conversation with Joel Ngugi, a professor at the University of Washington Law School who teaches a course in contracts. Ngugi said that there is a question about whether that became part of the agreement. He added that Schultz would have to sue.

Now Schultz IS suing. If this signed agreement Brunner wrote of exists, he has a case. The city of Seattle has evidence that Bennett has lied all along. And a law professor says that it is enforceable.

Yeah, there is definitely a chance Seattle can win. The city's not going down without a fight, and Clay Bennett could be in for the fight of his life to win this one now.

My time is up. You've all been great. Enjoy Institute.

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