Seattle investor Chris Hansen was revealed by the Fair Political Practices Commission as the donor to a group looking to stop Sacramento’s new downtown arena.
The official revelation came at a press conference Friday, confirming what sources told FOX40 News earlier in the day.
The FPPC got a complaint 10 days ago that the group collecting signatures for an anti-arena ballot measure had not disclosed where money for their campaign came from, Gary Winuk from the FPPC said at Friday’s press conference.
Loeb & Loeb – a law firm that was once tied to the Kings’ former owners, the Maloof family – apparently wrote a check to a political consultant to pay for the campaign, Winuk said.
A suit from the FPPC soon followed after the signature gathering group wouldn’t disclose who the check came from.
Friday’s filing made with the Secretary of State and the Sacramento City Clerk’s office uncovered the donor’s identity – Chris Hansen.
If that name seems familiar, it’s because Hansen was one of the major players in the earlier effort to buy the Kings and move the team to Seattle.
With Friday’s news, the FPPC has dismissed their lawsuit. However, Winuk notes that they will continue to investigate.
“While we are pleased that the disclosure was made today, it was still made weeks beyond when the public had a right to know who was paying for this signature gathering,” Winuk said.
Possible penalties could ensue.
Winuk also notes that Loeb & Loeb and Hansen should have known that the source of the donation has to be made public.
“This to us is a glaring example of at-best negligent, and at-worst purposeful deceptive behavior that was aimed at depriving the Sacramento public the knowledge it’s entitled to about who is funding campaigns,” Winuk said.
Hansen gave the campaign $100,000, but only $80,000 has been spent so far to the FPPC’s knowledge.
Due to Loeb & Loeb’s connection to the Maloofs, some concern has been raised that the old owners have been behind the anti-arena effort. But, the FPPC has found no evidence that the Maloofs are involved in any way.
Hansen later released a statement about the revelation, noting that he made a mistake he regrets.
“While I’m sure everyone can appreciate how easy it is to get caught up the heat of battle, with the benefit of hindsight, this is clearly a decision I regret. I wish the city of Sacramento and Kings fans the best in their efforts and they have my commitment not to have any involvement in their arena efforts in the future,” Hansen wrote.
Hansen added that he never directly talked to or had contact with the group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or any of the groups involved in halting construction of the new arena. His involvement was strictly through Loeb & Loeb, Hansen notes.
“I merely agreed to make a donation to the opposition in what had become a competitive and heated process,” Hansen wrote.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson had no comment Friday night on the issue.
State Senate President Darrell Steinberg, a key figure in Sacramento’s effort to keep the Kings, issued a short statement on the revelation of Hansen as the donor.
“Unbelievable,” he wrote.