Writing that he did not authorize a Los Angeles law firm “without my knowledge or consent” to send $80,000 in support of an anti-arena campaign in Sacramento, Seattle arena developer Chris Hansen Monday attempted to distance himself from the controversy that erupted last month with disclosure that he likely violated California state campaign law.
On his website, sonicsarena.com, Hansen wrote that he paid a legal bill June 21 to the firm of Loeb & Loeb that included $100,000 “that could be directed toward the Sacramento Arena opposition assuming that certain conditions were met (a broad based political committee was set up with substantial other donors).”
The same day, the firm sent $80,000 to a consulting firm in Sacramento that was paying signature-gatherers for a campaign to put the city council-approved arena plan before the city’s voters next June. Hansen claimed he had no knowledge of the payment nor of the obligation to disclose his funding of a political campaign.
It was only after a complaint was filed with a state agency that watches campaign funding did he learn from Loeb & Loeb what had been done in his name. Once he learned of the obligation to disclose, he filed the paperwork Aug. 16. The complaint was filed Aug. 15. The deadline for compliance was July 31.
Hansen was careful to explain that he was not attempting to excuse his mistakes.
“While I believe this explanation should go a long ways in clearing up many of the misconceptions surrounding my involvement with Sacramento Arena opposition, it should not be taken as an attempt deflect criticism from the mistakes I clearly made,” Hansen wrote. “I take a lot of pride trying to do things the right way in my life, and I simply should not have allowed myself to get caught up in the competitive dynamics of this situation and never should have agreed to commit any funds to the Sacramento Arena opposition — under any circumstances.”
The statement comes a day ahead of the first public hearing on the draft environmental impact statement on his proposed arena project in SoDo. The hearing is at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall’s Bertha Landes Room.