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California city sued over new Los Angeles Clippers arena

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The proposed new arena for the Los Angeles Clippers has run into another legal hurdle.

A group of residents in Inglewood, California, where the new arena is proposed, filed a lawsuit against the city saying it violated state law by signing an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop public land, reported ESPN.

Specifically, the group, called the Uplift Inglewood Coalition, says the city, which owns the land, violated the state’s Surplus Land Act.

The Surplus Land Act requires California municipalities to give priority to affordable housing when selling public land.

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Thus, the group says the land should have been made available for affordable housing development before being offered to the Clippers.

“We don’t know why they continue to push in the face of such strong residential opposition,” D’Artagnan Scorza, a member of Uplift Inglewood, said, according to ESPN.

“It doesn’t make any sense to us except that they’re facing a $17 million budget deficit as a result of financial mismanagement and they’re probably trying to figure out a way to shore up the city’s finances utilizing these projects,”  Scorza added.

The city entered into an exclusive negotiating agreement last year with the developer, Murphy’s Bowl LLC, to build a 18,000- to 20,000-seat arena near West Century Boulevard and South Prairie Avenue.

Do you think Uplift Inglewood should prevail in its lawsuit?

It is adjacent to the new NFL stadium being constructed at the former site of the Hollywood Park racetrack.

“It is simply negligent on the part of our elected officials to prioritize the needs of a billionaire over the needs of the residents of Inglewood,” said Woodrow Curry III, a member of Uplift Inglewood, reported the Los Angeles Daily News.

The Clippers have a lease to play at the Forum through 2024 but plan to move into their new home after that.

In March, the Madison Square Garden Co., which owns the Forum, sued the city of Inglewood and Murphy’s Bowl LLC in an effort to block construction.

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“The lawsuit claims the arena would violate MSG’s development agreement with Inglewood and accuses Murphy’s Bowl of interfering in the contract,” the Los Angeles Times reported. “MSG believes the agreement protects it against the construction of a competing venue less than a mile away and the project would ‘threaten the economic competitiveness of the Forum and directly undermine the purposes and objectives of the Development Agreement.'”

Inglewood Mayor James Butts called the MSG suit a “sham,” reported the Times.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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