The owners of the Forum have filed a claim for damages against the city of Inglewood, arguing Mayor James Butts misrepresented a land deal to begin secret negotiations with the LA Clippers.
Madison Square Garden officials say Butts used a “bait-and-switch” strategy to convince Forum officials to clear a lease for a parcel of land near the site of a proposed NFL stadium. Forum officials were told the land would be used to build a business park, but accuse the mayor of instead approving the land for a new arena for the Clippers.
“With this week’s filings, the Forum is protecting itself from recent actions taken by the Mayor and City of Inglewood, the Inglewood Parking Authority and the Successor Agency to the Inglewood Redevelopment Agency that are already negatively impacting our venue and the significant investment we have made to transform it into a thriving entertainment destination,” officials with The Forum said in a statement.
“We, along with the hundreds of hardworking men and women who work to bring top-flight entertainment events to the Forum, are stunned that the City is moving forward with a plan that is in direct conflict with its existing and clear-cut written commitments to our venue,” the statement continues. “Moreover, the construction of a new arena will have negative impacts that extend far beyond the Forum. We find that unacceptable.”
According to Forum officials, the land identified for building the new Clippers arena includes “a large block of land occupied by hundreds of homes, active businesses, and even an active church. These properties would need to be seized (many by eminent domain) and destroyed for the arena to move forward.”
Law firm Latham & Watkins filed the damages claim on behalf of the Forum, which is believed to be a precursor to a lawsuit.
The Inglewood City Council entered into an exclusive-negotiating agreement with Ballmer on June 15, accepting a $1.5 million payment to the city to create a three-year negotiation period. Ballmer wants to move his team from the Staples Center when its lease expires in 2024.