SEATTLE - The legal system gives and it takes away. California investor and would-be NBA owner Chris Hansen knows that well. In one afternoon he scored a major legal victory, and was also fined tens of thousands of dollars by the state of California.
Monday morning the Washington State Court of Appeals denied the appeal of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. The ILWU had sued in order to stop the Memorandum of Understanding between Hansen and the city of Seattle and King County.
Their lawyers argued that the MOU was inappropriately focused on the proposed Sodo arena site for the new Sonics building, rather than exploring all options. The ruling stated that because there has been "government 'action'" on the environmental review, "the courts are not a forum for the union's opposition to Hansen's proposal."
Later in the afternoon, it was revealed that Hansen and other parties had agreed to a civil judgment for $50,000 related to campaign disclosure violations. Hansen and the legal firm Loeb & Loeb worked together earlier in the year to support signature gathering efforts to help defeat a Sacramento arena for the Kings.
Hansen was denied a sale and relocation of the Kings in May. Hansen admitted to $100,000 in donations, $80,000 of which was actually spent. The Fair Political Practices Commission in California settled the fine for $50,000 for Hansen and his lawyers. The settlement has already been paid, but the cost is higher than many violations the FPPC typically hands out.
FPPC chief enforcement officer, Gary Winuk, had filed legal action against Hansen and the law firm to compel a campaign disclosure in August. "There aren't many cases where we have to file a civil judgment," Winuk said.
He explained that failing to disclose is the reason why the fine is higher than average for the commission.
In a lengthy statement, Hansen sought to clear the air and help repair the public relations fallout after the donations were discovered.
The FPPC will vote to accept or deny the already-paid fine settlement on September 19th.