Thursday, April 10, 2008

Clay Bennett Lied to David Stern

Bombshell! Emails obtained from the Oklahoma City ownership group are part of a motion the city of Seattle filed in federal court yesterday, and Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times got them. And boy is there ever a smoking gun.

You'll remember that last August, David Stern fined owner Aubrey McClendon $250K for saying that the ownership group always intended to move the team. Here's how Bennett tried to smooth that over with Stern.

Email from Clay Bennett to David Stern, 8/17/07 [pdf]: "As absolutely remarkable as it may seem, Aubrey and I have NEVER discussed moving the Sonics to Oklahoma City, nor have I discussed it with ANY other member of our ownership group."

But, and there's really no other way to put this, Bennett was lying. He'd talked about it at least four months earlier.

Email exchange between [Sonics owners] Tom Ward and Clay Bennett, 4/17/07 [pdf]:

Ward: Is there any way to move here for next season or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?

Bennett: I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started!

And here's Bennett speaking to Percy Allen of the Seattle Times, in May 2007: "I am absolutely committed to the teams and committed to keeping them in the Seattle region."

We Sonics fans didn't like being lied to by Clay Bennett--now Stern gets a taste of it.


Michael said...

I hope he dies.

Scott said...

Me too....lets get him!!!!!!!!!!

AH said...

Could someone break down the legal ramifications of this? I ask this for two reasons.

1) When Bennett and company bought the Sonics there was a clause that stipulated that they make a "faithful effort" to keep the team in Seattle. If Bennett is "a man possessed" to move the team, then that undermines any lip service he gave the state and city, as transperant as his lies were then. What were the ramifications of violating that clause?

2. The court case in June is regarding the lease, but could this evidence be used against Bennett in any way in that case?

Not a laywer person, so these might not be legit questions, but it seems to me that there should be ramifications.

Seth said...

Great minds think alike, AH.

Posted this a couple of hours ago.