SEATTLE - A group said Tuesday that the Seattle Arena project gives investor Chris Hansen close to $731 million dollars in public subsidies.
The group, which is calling itself Sonics Without Subsidies, said tax breaks given to Hansen have ballooned the cost.
"There is a grab bag of hidden subsidies in this deal with Chris Hansen, every one of them is a special tax break the normal person is not allowed to get," said Cleveland Stockmeyer. The attorney led a presentation on Tuesday, detailing what he says is a study by Dr. Adrien Gamache, an Eastside financial expert.
Stockmeyer has represented people who were a part of the "Citizens for More Important Things", the prime sponsors of Initiative 91. His suit challenging the Arena was already dismissed in King County Superior Court.
However, Stockmeyer says this study proves taxpayers are not getting a return on their potential investment, and the analysis shows that. He says the group will sue if elected leaders do not adjust the MOU.
Seattle's City Council, and King County Council have both approved a Memorandum of Understanding on the framework of a deal, which could provide up to $145 million in city bonding, and up to $80 million from the County.
Seattle's Mayor and King County Executive have also signed off on the deal, pending an environmental and economic analysis. Hansen has agreed to fund the rest of the nearly half billion dollar arena, and pay back the City/County loan through Arena generating revenue.
Seattle City Councilmembers Sally Clark, and Tim Burgess, who both voted for the plan, declined comment on Tuesday. King County Executive Dow Constantine also declined comment. Seattle Mayor-Elect Ed Murray says, through a spokesman, he won't comment on any potential public policy until after he takes office next year.