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Microsoft is distancing itself from CEO Steve Ballmer's involvement in an investor group seeking to buy the Sacramento Kings, saying the software corporation has no stake in the matter.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg stirred controversy last week when he sent the Department of General Services a letter asking for information about California's business dealings with Microsoft. Critics interpreted the move as an unwarranted threat, but Steinberg, who represents Sacramento, said he was merely serving his constituents.

In response to a query from the Bee, a Microsoft spokeswoman said that Ballmer's role in the group seeking to move the Kings to Seattle is unrelated to Microsoft's business operations.

"The effort to build a new professional sports arena in Seattle was initiated and is led by San Francisco-based developer, Chris Hansen, who has announced a number of investors, including Steve Ballmer," said the spokeswoman, who declined to be identified. "Microsoft Corporation is not involved in the effort."


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