City Beat

News, insight and discussion on Sacramento and its neighborhoods

April 5, 2013
Watchdogs criticize 'Public Sector Suite' in Kings arena plan

A local watchdog group is criticizing Sacramento for including a "Public Sector Suite" at the arena being planned for Downtown Plaza.

That suite was included in the 18-page "term sheet" approved by the City Council that lays out the financing for the $448 million facility.

According to the term sheet, the city "shall have an option to use one complimentary, furnished luxury suite at the" arena "including tickets and preferred parking to all (arena) events included as part of a typical license agreement." The suite could be used "for any official city purpose."

City officials would have to pay for food and beverages in the suite. The investment team partnering with the city on the arena plan would also provide the city with 10 complimentary tickets to Kings games.

Eye on Sacramento, a watchdog group that has been critical of the arena deal, blasted the arrangement. The group called the provision "one of the dirty little details of the arena deal."

"The 'Public Sector Suite' provision negotiated by self-interested city officials demonstrates that the arena deal really serves the arrogant interests of city officials," the group said in a written statement.

Officials said the suite would serve as a valuable resource for promoting the city.

"The public sector suite would primarily be used for economic development purposes in attracting new and retaining corporations and businesses in Sacramento," city spokeswoman Amy Williams said in an emailed statement. "In addition, the suite could also be used by non-profits and other community based organizations that do good work locally."

It's unclear how prevalent these kinds of arrangements are in arena deals. However, the city negotiated a similar provision in an arena financing plan approved by the council last year that eventually collapsed.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

Contact reporter Ryan Lillis at rlillis@sacbee.com

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