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"The longshoreman are asking the court to set aside this agreement," union attorney Peter Goldman said. "That would prevent anyone on either side from using this agreement to move forward. We need to start all over again." (AP Photo/File)

King County judge expected to rule on lawsuit against SoDo arena

It's a big day for the proposed arena in Seattle's SoDo neighborhood. A King County judge is expected to rule on one of the lawsuits attempting to stop the project.

The local longshoreman's union is asking King County Superior Court judge Douglass North to throw out the city and county's deal with investor Chris Hansen.

"The longshoreman are asking the court to set aside this agreement," union attorney Peter Goldman said. "That would prevent anyone on either side from using this agreement to move forward. We need to start all over again."

Goldman said the deal to invest nearly $500 million into a new arena in SoDo violates environmental law because a full review of the impacts of the arena were not done before the deal was signed.

"It's completely the cart before the horse," he said. "That's contrary to the law, and we hope the judge agrees with us."

Studies on traffic impacts and economic impacts all needed to be completed before this deal was agreed to by the city and the county, and other potential sites needed to be included, Goldman will argue in court Friday.

"We require facts before we make decisions," Goldman said. "There are no facts here. We don't know what the impacts are going to be on any sector of Seattle. We should have had those facts upfront."

The union worries that a third arena next to the Port of Seattle would bring too much congestion to the neighborhood, costing local jobs and hurting the profitability of the port.

A ruling against this project could significantly impact Hansen's deal to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle. He's been using this deal to pitch his plan to the NBA.

And let's not forget the deal to buy and move the Kings is still not guaranteed. We've been waiting for weeks now for Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson to unveil his big plan to keep the team in California. He told ESPN that despite Hansen's deal to buy and move the team, "I can assure you and the Seattle fans it is not a done deal."

Johnson said he will unveil the investors that he hopes will encourage the NBA to nix the Seattle deal within a few days. "They've been referred to as the 'whales,'" he said. "We will be unveiling who they are this week or next week."

Hansen and his group have offered the Kings' owners $340 million for a 65 percent stake in the team, with the understanding that it would be moved to Seattle.

The NBA is expected to rule on that in April.

Read more:
Resolution supports keeping Kings in Sacramento


Chris Sullivan, KIRO Radio Reporter
Chris loves the rush of covering breaking news and works hard to try to make sense of it all while telling stories about real people in extraordinary circumstances.
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