SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Ron Burkle, who was a lead investor in Sacramento Republic FC’s bid to obtain a Major League Soccer franchise, is being sued again.
Minnesota construction and engineering corporation, M.A Mortensen Company, filed a lawsuit last Thursday against Burkle and three other defendants accusing them of breach of contract and fraud.
According to the lawsuit, the company was contracted in 2018 to build a Sacramento stadium in the 14-acre site at the downtown railyards using the Allianz Field design the company built for the Minnesota United FC the previous year.
M.A Mortensen Company is seeking damages of at least $1.3 million, which they say is owed to them for services provided between June and December of 2020.
MLS awarded Sacramento an expansion in 2019. But Burkle’s group had run into cost issues with the proposed stadium site and had yet to break ground on the proposed 21,000-seat stadium amid growing concern the team would not be able to start until 2024.
Back in January, multiple news outlets reported Burkle missed a planned $200 million expansion payment in December and failed to sign and submit the Sacramento Republic FC’s MLS expansion agreement.
In response to those reports, MLS sent FOX40 the following statement:
Major League Soccer continues to work with Ron Burkle to finalize the long-form expansion agreement and remains focused on a successful launch of Sacramento Republic FC in 2023, along with the opening of a new stadium at the Railyards.Major League Soccer
Yet in February, Burkle backed out of the expansion deal.
“Earlier today, Ron Burkle informed the League that based on issues with the project related to COVID-19, he has decided to not move forward with the acquisition of an MLS expansion team in Sacramento,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said in a statement on February 26, 2021.
The news would send Sacramento Republic FC stakeholders scrambling for a new investor and put the future of a Sacramento MLS soccer stadium in limbo.
In June, Icon Venue Group LLC sued Burkle’s group for breach of contract and fraud seeking damages of at least $2.4 million for work done on the stadium project.
Both Icon Venture Group and M.A Mortensen Company’s lawsuits list Burkle, his company Yucaipa Companies LLC, Matt Alvarez and Soccer Stadium LLC as defendants in the complaints filed at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento.