Basketball Obsessed Obama Has Sacramento Mayor's Back
Obama pal and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson thought he had a done deal last month when the owners of the NBA Sacramento Kings negotiated a tentative agreement with the city to stay put. Johnson was riding high when he thought he landed the impossible deal to keep the Kings in his city.
NBA commissioner David Stern, an avid Obama supporter, sat down with the Maloof family who owns the team on February 27 to iron out the details.
"The owners have authorized me to be as supportive as we could possibly be in this process so we could cement the future of the NBA in Sacramento," league commissioner David Stern said.
Only a few days before the negotiations Stern had attended a $30,000 a head fund-raising event for the President at the home of Dallas Maverick player Vince Carter in Orlando. At that time Obama congratulated Stern for settling the NBA lockout dispute.
"Because I don't know what I would be doing with myself if I didn't at least have some basketball games around," Obama said. "And obviously we're looking forward to the All-Star game.
A month later the Maloofs are balking at the pre-development figures for the new arena to be built by 2015 amounting to $3.26 million. Stern is promising to bail out Johnson by asking the NBA board to cover the costs.
As a longtime friend of Michelle and Barack, Kevin Johnson is too big to fail. When the St. HOPE Academy CEO siphoned off almost a million dollars of AmeriCorps federal grant monies for his own personal use the Inspector General investigating the fraud was fired by the Obama White House in 2009. St. HOPE ended up promising to pay back half the money making the city eligible for stimulus funds.
Maloofs and Sacramento take note: Mr. Johnson was also required to take an online bookkeeping course.
Now the souring sweetheart deal Johnson made with the Maloofs, rumored to be cash-strapped themselves, may put the city of Sacramento on the hook in the end. The Mayor released a statement after the Maloof's attorney insisted no binding agreement was reached.
The success of the new entertainment and sports complex depends on complete trust and partnership among all parties. It was with that spirit that we all agreed to a deal in Orlando, including the Maloof family, who looked an entire room in the eye and promised their commitment to Sacramento.
Big league sports deals are notorious for falling through and leaving the public to pick up the tab but Johnson has a basketball-obsessed President running interference; not to mention Obama's high-dollar campaign contributor, NBA Commish David Stern.
The convergence of basketball and politics inside this administration is definitely starting to get creepy.
Stern, a Columbia University law graduate, is also a member of the ultra-liberal Council on Foreign Relations which lists George Soros among its notables. As head of the NBA Stern and Mr. Obama are two peas in a pod. No doubt they'll make sure all the parties involved in the Sacramento sports deal will get on board with their close friend Kevin Johnson.
In a March 20 press conference with Tim Leiweke, President of Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) who own the Los Angeles Kings and who have promised to kick in millions toward a new arena, Johnson likened Sacramento to the west coast's version of DC.
When you think about this country, we are one of the two most important capitals in the country - right here in Sacramento.
Most likely Johnson's audacious claim comes from the backing of his number one fan in the White House. The Kings were all set to move to Anaheim last year when Johnson convinced the NBA to give him a shot at financing an arena in Sacramento.
Now with the Maloofs insisting they shouldn't have to pay pre-development costs Stern, Obama's other pal, told Mayor Johnson the NBA will advance his city the money pending an AEG board meeting scheduled in April.
Johnson has certainly met his match doing business with the Maloof brothers. Just like the mayor they don't seem to care about scamming taxpayers out of their hard-earned bucks. But Johnson's got some pretty heavy-duty radical types like Stern and the Obamas covering his back which should help to seal the deal in the end.
Every despot has frivolous obsessions and Obama is no different. His relationship with Johnson and other basketball players illustrates this point. Yet, very disturbing is the fact that a president of the United States imposes himself into states' and cities' politics.
All of this basketball cronyism in a sports-obsessed nation is great PR for a president leading the country straight into an economic abyss. Any diversion from his covert laying of transformative groundwork i.e., centralizing power through nationalizing health care, education, and the economy, helps Obama's cause.
Read more M. Catharine Evans at Potter Williams Report