The owner of The Forum has filed a claim against the City of Inglewood, an action that comes after local officials approved an exclusive negotiating period for a proposed LA Clippers arena.
In June, the City of Inglewood approved an exclusive negotiating period of three years with the Clippers, who are considering a location in the city for the site of a new arena. The venue has been proposed for a site at the corner of Century Boulevard and Yukon Avenue, across from a currently-under-construction football stadium for the NFL’s Rams and Chargers.
Madison Square Garden Co., owner of the Inglewood Forum, has filed a claim of damages against the city. Within the claim, which was filed on Wednesday, Madison Square Garden Co. alleges that the city used a bait-and-switch tactic to convince it to relinquish a leasehold on a portion of a parking lot, under the pretense that the site would be used for a technology park. More from The Daily Breeze:
The Madison Square Garden Co. claims Inglewood Mayor James Butts used a bait-and-switch strategy to coerce Forum executives into clearing the way for the project on a Century Boulevard parcel across from the NFL stadium now under construction. They say Butts persuaded them to give up their leasehold in April on part of a parking lot to make way for a new business-technology park.
Instead, in June, city officials shocked MSG by announcing their deal with Clippers owner Steve Ballmer for a 18,000- to 20,000-seat arena that would likely also host concerts on the site 11/2 miles south.
“The mayor made it extremely clear that he needed that piece of land back for a kind of ‘Silicon Beach,’ ” said Marvin Putnam, a partner with the law firm Latham & Watkins, which filed the damage claim that serves as a precursor to a lawsuit. “They’re attempting to flat-out trick people.”
Butts declined to comment, and there is no proof that he made those statements. But when Madison Square Garden Co. relinquished the parking lease to the city, its approved contract states that the land would not be used for anything that would hurt the Forum’s business, according to documents.
The agreement with the Clippers came as the team continued to evaluate its longterm arena options, as the club’s lease at the Staples Center expires in 2024. The Forum originally opened in 1967, and has had a resurgence under Madison Square Garden Co. in recent years as a music venue.