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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Forum owner seeks damages over Inglewood Clippers stadium agreement

Madison Square Garden Co. claims mayor used bait-and-switch tactics
July 20, 2017 12:52PM

Inglewood Mayor James Butts outside the Forum (Getty Images)

Madison Square Garden Co., owner of Inglewood’s Forum concert venue, is cranking up the volume on its allegations against the city of Inglewood and Mayor James Butts.

MSG filed a claim for damages on Wednesday accusing Butts of using a bait-and-switch strategy to get Forum executives to give up their leasehold in April.  

At the time, MSG was allegedly told the site would be used for a business-technology park development. Then city officials surprised MSG, the complaint claims, when they announcing a deal to bring an 18,000- to 20,000-seat L.A. Clippers arena on the site, which would likely host concerts and be a direct competitor to the Forum.

When MSG, which owns Madison Square Garden in New York, relinquished its parking lease to the city, the contract stated the land could not be used for anything that would negatively impact the Forum’s business, the Daily Breeze reported.

The mayor made it clear the land would be used for a Silicon Beach-style campus, said Marvin Putnam ofLatham & Watkins, who filed the claim on behalf of MSG.

“They’re attempting to flat-out trick people,” Putnam told the Daily Breeze.

Inglewood City Council approved an exclusive negotiating agreement with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer on June 15. Ballmer secured the deal with a $1.5 million payment to the city. Its terms give both parties three years to negotiate a plan for the new arena at the corner of Century Boulevard and Yukon Avenue.

The team’s lease at the Staples Center is up in 2024.

Putnam said the firm will move forward with a lawsuit if the city doesn’t cancel the deal. [PSN]Subrina Hudson