The answer to the question posed in the headline: It sure as hell looks like it.
This according to the Internets, where it’s now being widely reported that would-be Seattle basketball savior Chris Hansen is the man behind $80,000 in mystery funding for a petition campaign attempting to force a public vote on Sacramento’s publicly subsidized arena deal.
Hansen’s involvement in donating $80,000 to a group gathering signatures in Sacramento was revealed by a source this afternoon. The revelation came one day after the state’s political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, sued the Los Angeles law firm that wired $80,000 to the signature-gathering campaign. The lawsuit demanded to know the identity of the donor. A court hearing had been scheduled for Monday.
Hansen’s role in the anti-arena campaign is a dramatic development. Initial suspicion fell on the Maloof family, former owners of the Kings, because the family has long been represented by the law firm that wired the money, Loeb & Loeb.
Instead, Hansen made the donation a month after the NBA blocked his attempt to move the Kings to Seattle, the source said.
Needless to say, the fine people of Sacramento haven’t taken kindly to the news. The Twittersphere has erupted, with the consensus being that this represents a “colossally stupid” move by Hansen, to quote one Twitter-er, and a “black eye” for Seattle, to quote Grant Napear - the TV voice of the Kings.
Locally, KJR’s Dave “Softy” Mahler says we should expect news from the Hansen camp at some point today. Whether it’s an apology remains to be seen - but there’s no question today’s revelation is a bad look for Seattle’s favorite hedge fund investor.