Seattle Sabotage? Hansen’s Secret Donation Exposed

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SACRAMENTO–

It seems someone has sour grapes – the size of basketballs.

“It was Chris Hansen … a Seattle and San Francisco investor who was the one who funded the arena ballot signature gathering,” said Gary Winuk, chief of enforcement for California’s Fair Political Practices Commission.

He revealed the name during a late Friday afternoon press conference about 90 minutes after he received it following a quick but intense investigation.

Chris Hansen is the man who led this year’s charge to remove the Kings from their Sacramento throne – and lost.

Now he’s been outed as the major money backer of ballot initiative campaign to stop city subsidies to the team’s planned new arena.

“I think the voters had a right to know who was funding the arena campaign and why they were going to such great lengths to keep it secret … and I think it’s obvious today,” said Joshua Woods, with DowntownArena.org,  the group that filed a complaint with the FPPC about the ballot initiative financing.

Mike Tavares, leader of fan group Crown Downtown, practically did hand to hand combat with Hansen as the NBA evaluated dueling proposals for the Kings.

“It’s unbelievable. Why would Chris Hansen do it,” he questioned.

The FPPC can’t speak to the why, but the group did finally get the ‘what’ out of Hansen – getting a funding disclosure from him Friday afternoon.

It came one day after filing suit against law firm Loeb & Loeb for the name of the donor.

To ensure that voters know who’s behind campaigns, like trying to get a measure on the ballot, backers are supposed to be disclosed.

“There were three separate filings that were not made, plus individual disclosures on those filings that were not made as well,” said Winuk. “They should have known better.”

For his part, Chris Hansen now says that groups against a retained Sacramento team and new arena approached him months ago through the Maloofs’ former law firm, Loeb & Loeb. Hansen wrote in a statement that he “merely agreed to make a donation to the opposition.”

The FPPC says his $100,000 dollars went to consultants that paid for signature gatherers.

The only ballot measure connected to an area right now is run by S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P. now says it’s “not working with Olsen campaigns” – the consultants. Those are more issues the FPPC will be investigating.

It’s been a rough month for Hansen – late on a $47,000 payment for the Sodo Arena he’s still working to build in Seattle.

It’s being built with initial city subsidies.

Now, this new controversy.

Hansen and Seattle have been very hopeful that they would be able to acquire an NBA expansion team in the near future.

At one time, Crown Downtown was very supportive of such an opportunity for Seattle, with recent revelations feelings have changed.

“How can Chris Hansen be an NBA owner?  They’re going to have to find someone else to be the new face,” said Tavares.

Tavares and other fans say the wizard of the other emerald city, Seattle, has been unmasked just like in Oz.

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