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Inglewood mayor calls Forum lawsuit ‘ludicrous’

City of Inglewood accused of tricking Forum owners to give up land now being offered to the Clippers for a competing arena

Butts says Madison Square Garden Co. is ‘acting for self-serving financial gain’ to prevent competition; Forum owners claim breach of contract

INGLEWOOD — Mayor James Butts responded to a lawsuit by the Madison Square Garden Co., owners of The Forum, against the city as “ludicrous” at an April 12 news conference.

MSG alleges that the mayor tricked the company into giving up land now being offered to the Los Angeles Clippers 1.5 miles south of the Forum for a competing arena. MSG is suing the city for breach of contract, saying they learned later city officials had been in negotiations with the Clippers all along.

MSG claims the company agreed to terminate a parking lease at Butts’ request so the city could use the properties for a business-technology center.

“It’s ludicrous to believe that this is going to change the dynamic of [Madison Square Garden’s] competitiveness,” Butts said, noting that the Forum is the No. 1 concert venue in California.

“This basketball arena was going to be built somewhere and somewhere local,” he said. “The reality is that after we get past this nonsense everyone is going to cooperate and we’re going to have the synergy that’s going to be developed by the sports and entertainment district, and it’s going to be unparalleled in this country.”

The mayor said MSG does not have the right to block another arena in Inglewood, that the entertainment company is “acting for self-serving financial gain” to prevent competition.

According to Mayor Butts, the Inglewood City Council voted unanimously to enter into an Exclusive Negotiating Agreement with the Clippers last summer.

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