New Forum owners sue City of Inglewood for contract breach
MSG Forum claims Inglewood secretly conferred with Clippers about a new arena using the same property the Forum leased for overflow parking
New owners MSG Forum claim fraud, breach-of-contract over Inglewood’s negotiations with Clippers
INGLEWOOD — The new owners of The Forum, once home to the Los Angeles Lakers and L.A. Kings sports teams, accuse the city of Inglewood and its mayor of selling 15 acres of parking it leased to build a competing arena for the L.A. Clippers.
The Madison Square Garden Co., owners of the Forum filed a fraud and breach-of-contract lawsuit against Inglewood on Monday over the city’s negotiations with the Los Angeles Clippers for a proposed new arena about 1.5 miles away from the famed venue.
The Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit accuses Mayor James Butts of deceiving MSG Forum officials into surrendering a long-term lease and purchase option for 15 acres of city-owned land used for overflow parking.
According to the MSG suit, officials claim the city secretly conferred with the Clippers about a new arena using the same property MSG Forum leased for overflow parking.
Marvin Putnam, attorney for MSG Forum, vilified Inglewood’s leadership for their deceitful action.
“Unfortunately, the shocking and outrageous conduct of the mayor, city officials and others have forced us to seek accountability in the courts in order to protect the Forum,” Putnam said.
MSG officials contend in the suit that the city’s negotiations to build an arena less than a mile south of the Forum is a violation of the Forum’s contracts with Inglewood that prevent the city from taking any actions that would cause “a material adverse impact on the use, operations, functionality or economic competitiveness of the Forum.”
Butts refutes MSG Forum’s contention in a statement.
“The city of Inglewood cherishes its relationship with The Madison Square Garden Company and Live Nation,” he said. “Working together, we have seen the Forum become one of the top concert venues in the country. We disagree on the city’s right to self-determination and the scope of that right.
“The Inglewood City Council‘s first responsibility is to its residents and their quality of life while ensuring continued progress, opportunities for employment and improved public safety,” Butts continued. “In the end, I believe that we will be able to come together and find an amicable resolution. In the meantime, life goes on unabated for both the Forum and the city of Inglewood.”
Clippers owner Steve Ballmer has expressed a desire to move the NBA team to a new facility from Staples Center, which it shares with the Lakers and the National Hockey League’s Kings. The Clippers’ Staples Center lease expires in 2024.