Arena Advocates Lobby Hansen to Switch Stance on S.T.O.P.

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SACRAMENTO-

In an arena game that’s been all about passes and shots, the latest shot fired is from DowntownArena.org – right at Chris Hansen.

“Sent him a letter, gave him a chance to not continue this effort of supporting S.T.O.P.,” said Joshua Wood with DowntownArena.org.

Last week, Hansen, the Seattle investor who made an unsuccessful play to buy the Kings, was revealed as the money man behind paid signature gatherers working to keep an NBA-approved arena plan from taking shape in Sacramento.

The Fair Political Practices Commission had to press for his name through a lawsuit after required election disclosure forms were ignored.

Wood says if Hansen’s as sorry as he’s claimed in written statements, he won’t give his signatures to S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P., or Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, is the grassroots group collecting signatures for a ballot initiative to force a public vote on city financial involvement in an arena.

“He hasn’t responded to us. We’re disappointed,” said Wood, about his letter to Hansen.

Hansen had no response for FOX40 either, after we left messages for him at the offices of his San Francisco-based hedge fund.

Our cameras caught up with one board member who hinted S.T.O.P. may take its own stand about the shadowy, Seattle-funded signatures.

“The signatures that we collect from our volunteers we hope will be the minimum we need. If we need those other signatures they will be available. There’s some debate on whether we’re going to use those or not,” said Michael Edwards, with S.T.O.P.

S.T.O.P maintains it’s had no dealings with the law firm funneling Hansen’s money into the area or the consultants who hired the paid signature gatherers.

But is that really true?

One source close to the situation confirmed to FOX40 that S.T.O.P.’s treasurer flew to a meeting with the Orange County firm in question – Loeb and Loeb.

That trip was detailed on state election disclosure forms.

Those documents tie S.T.O.P. member James Cathcart to expenditures for air travel for a strategy meeting during the first six months of 2013.

When asked, S.T.O.P. board member Mike Edwards first said Loeb and Loeb was involved, but has since said the meeting was with a group called Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods.

FOX40 looked for answers at the Sacramento address listed for the consultants responsible for hiring the paid signature gatherers, but got no answer.

The lawsuit that finally flushed out Chris Hansen’s name lists GOCO Consulting, also known as Olson and Associates, as the group that did the hiring.

Members of DowntownArena.org don’t believe S.T.O.P.’s denial of any connection to Hansen’s financial support for their ballot measure.

“Honestly, they must think voters are stupid,” said Wood.

S.T.O.P. has several more months to collect signatures to get its measure on the ballot in Sacramento.

The FPPC is still investigating the financial support structure for anti-arena efforts.

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