Despite missing his self-imposed deadline to reach a deal for an arena financing plan, City Manager John Shirey said today he remains optimistic an agreement will be reached.
Shirey said top city negotiators and representatives of billionaire Ron Burkle were still talking this afternoon about the financing of an arena at Downtown Plaza and that those talks were expected to continue. He said the sides have not reached an impasse.
Shirey would not say what sticking points remain between the sides.
"I'm still optimistic that we're going to get the (sticking) points resolved," Shirey said. "I do not have that feeling that we're not going to come together."
Shirey said it remains his goal to release a term sheet in time to give the City Council and public ample opportunity to examine the deal. Technically, Shirey could release the term sheet at Tuesday's City Council meeting. However, he said he would not do that.
"The City Council needs to be able to read and study the term sheet (before voting)," he said.
If a deal is not reached in time for a Tuesday council vote, the council could debate the plan at its meeting the following week, April 2 - the night before Sacramento presents its bid for the Kings to the NBA in New York. Shirey said it "is not preferable" to hold that council vote on April 2, but that "if it carries over (to April 2), it won't be the end of the world."
Shirey said he also is not planning to call for a special City Council meeting next week.
As for the emergence of Silicon Valley tech magnate Vivek Ranadive as the new leader in a bid to buy the Kings, Shirey said, "I think that's good news."
Ranadive is now leading a group of bidders that also includes Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov. Their bid will serve as a back-up offer in case the NBA rejects a deal made by the Kings' owners to sell the franchise to a group in Seattle.
"(Ranadive) is a self-made person who has considerable assets to add to two more people with considerable assets," Shirey said of Burkle and Mastrov. "It gives us all more assurance that they can deliver (on the bid to keep the team in Sacramento)."
Ranadive's inclusion in the deal will be part of the term sheet, Shirey said.