Bankruptcy Judge Sets Timeline for Sale of Portion of Kings

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Federal bankruptcy court in Sacramento became the latest “court” in play in the fight to keep the Kings in the State Capitol.

The bankruptcy trustee handling Kings’ minority owner Bob Cook’s financial troubles, with a judge set a date,  to auction off his shares and potential a “first right of refusal” to keep the team. The trustee also asked for documents pending the Maloof’s pending sale of the team to the Hansen-Ballmer group in Seattle.

If the Maloof’s don’t hand over paperwork on the binding sale of their 65 percent share of the team, the trustee could seek a court order forcing them to turn over documents.

Any potential buyers must be “qualified” to purchase the team by April 1, to make sure they have enough money to buy the estimated $36 million dollar share. On April 9, the auction will happen. On April 19, the NBA Board of Governor’s meets. The BOG will hear from both the Hansen-Ballmer group and a likely local-buyer counter-offer from Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The auction timeline was approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein, over the objection of Cook’s creditors.

“The court agrees with the trustee’s position that we need to move forward with the sale process,” bankruptcy trustee attorney Donald Fitzgerald told reporters.

With Cook’s share, possibly comes a “first right of refusal”  to match the Seattle offer, or even block it.

Also in court, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein approved the hire of a Bay Area lawyer, Christopher Sullivan as “special litigation counsel” – possibly hinting at a potential lawsuit over what happens during the auction and approval by the NBA Board of Governors.

The NBA was also represented in court by attorney Martin Zohn, who didn’t comment on the proceedings Thursday morning.

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