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Arena Partners Meet While Opponents Seek Public Vote

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(Sacramento, CA)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The four partners in the arena deal talked about the design, parking and finance hurdles that still need to be overcome. 

Tim Leiweke is the Chief Executive Officer at A.E.G.   He says he believes the Maloofs will be able to fulfill their $73-million-portion of the project.

LEIWEKE: "I believe in David Stern.  I think at the end of the day, we not only own part of a team playing in the N.B.A, we have two playing in our building in Los Angeles.   We're involved with the Timberwolves in Minnesota.  So, we have a long-standing relationship."

Lieweke is confident the company -and the city- will make money on luxury boxes and seat licenses.

LEIWEKE: " If we don't do a good job of that, then this will the first building in the history of A.E.G. where we lost money."

And that includes venues overseas.

LIEWEKE: "Everyone tells me, 'Well, Sacramento's economy has struggled.' Go to Germany.  Go to Europe and look at the economy over there and the struggles they've had.'  And in Berlin, we own 50 acres of land in and around the O2 arena there and almost all of the land there has been sold and it is being developed as we speak."

AEG's pledge of almost $59 million is the second-largest amount it has contributed to an arena project in the United States.  More talks are scheduled to take place in southern California Wednesday.
Also on Wednesday, a group called Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork, or STOP plans to submit language for a ballot measure that would block the City of Sacramento from using public funds for the arena.  
STOP co-founder Julian Camacho says the people should decide this issue directly, instead of relying on the City Council.

CAMACHO: Now is not the time to enter into a risky investment like this that has no guarantees that it's going to be self-supporting. "

STOP needs 30,000 signatures by then end of May to qualify.  If it is successful and if the City Council does not vote to approve the language of the measure, then the issue would then go to the voters. 

The council is expected to vote within the next few weeks to put the leasing of the city's parking assets out to bid.
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