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Forum Owner Sues Over Proposed Clippers Inglewood Arena

Los Angeles Clippers

Madison Square Garden Co., owner of Inglewood’s Forum, has filed a lawsuit over discussions of a proposed L.A. Clippers arena at a nearby site. 

Filed Monday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit names several parties, including but not limited to Inglewood mayor James Butts and the Clippers-controlled Murphy’s Bowl, LLC. It alleges that the parties have engaged in a breach of contract and fraud, claiming that Butts knowingly deceived MSG into surrendering a lease on vacant city-owned land that is ultimately being considered for the Clippers arena project. Furthermore, the lawsuit contends that the proposal involving the Clippers violates MSG’s development agreement with the city.

The Clippers are seeking to construct a new arena and surrounding development at a site that is located less than a mile from the Forum. Along with the arena, the privately financed project would include a practice facility, outdoor plaza, retail space, team offices, a sports medicine center, and perhaps other features. MSG contends in its lawsuit that it gave up its lease on the land, which it was using for overflow parking for Forum events, so that a technology park could be developed at the site. More from The Los Angeles Times:

“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,” Marvin Putnam, the Latham & Watkins attorney who filed the lawsuit on behalf of MSG, said in a statement.

In addition to Butts, Inglewood’s city council, two city-related agencies and Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the Clippers-controlled company behind the arena, are named in the complaint.

“The L.A. Clippers are committed to a fully transparent, publicly-reviewed project that will bring thousands of new jobs and massive economic benefits to the City of Inglewood and its residents,” Chris Meany, the arena project manager, said in a statement. “MSG has been threatening a lawsuit for months and while we only just received a copy, it appears there are no new issues that weren’t previously made and dismissed by the City of Inglewood.”

Butts said he hadn’t reviewed the complaint.

Originally opening in late 1967, the Forum was for many years the home of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Kings. Under MSG’s ownership, the Forum has been used frequently for events such as concerts and various award shows. The Clippers entered into discussions with Inglewood last summer about building a new arena there, but those talks are said to be in the early stages. The focus on Inglewood comes as the Clippers consider their options beyond Staples Center, where their lease runs through 2024.

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