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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Madison Square Garden Co. is accusing the mayor of Inglewood of “outrageous, fraudulent conduct”

The owner of The Forum is suing and holding the mayor personally liable for damages
September 09, 2018 01:12PM

(Credit from left: Ritapepaj/Wikimedia Commons, Wikimedia Commons)

The former home of the Lakers is taking issue with the Clippers trying to move in nearby.

The owner of The Forum, Madison Square Garden Co., is accusing the city of Inglewood and mayor, James T. Butts Jr., of fraudulent behavior saying he convinced them to forgo buying a $6.9 million, 15-acre tract of land that executives later learned he was in talks to sell to the Clippers for a new stadium, according to the Daily Breeze.

MSG said it didn’t pursue buying the land because company representatives believed the mayor was developing a technology park. The Forum’s termination agreement with the city specified that whatever development did go forward on the site, it would not be in competition with The Forum’s multi-purpose venue. MSG says a Clippers’ stadium would compete with them for concert events.

The Forum owner’s lawsuit is now seeking to hold Butts personally liable for damages–a move that a judge upheld despite Butts’ attempt to deny the motion, arguing the dealings over the land was part of his job as a public employee.

“The allegations against Mayor Butts do not involve conduct which contributed to a policy decision, but instead, involve fraudulent representations made in attempting to carry out the policy decisions that had already been made,” the judge’s ruling says.

Butts’ lawyer Skip Miller plans to appeal the ruling and is confident the ruling will be overturned. “The mayor was merely doing his job as mayor, negotiating and signing a contract; and for that, mayors are immune from suit under California statutory and case law,” he told the outlet. [Daily Breeze]Erin Hudson