MSG files lawsuit over fast-tracking of Clippers arena

Madison Square Garden Company (MSG) has filed a lawsuit against California Governor Gavin Newsom and the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee over plans relating to a new Inglewood arena for the Los Angeles Clippers NBA basketball team.

The Los Angeles Times newspaper reports that the suit claims that Assembly Bill 987, which was passed in 2018, violates state constitution. The newspaper notes that the bill was passed to protect the Clippers arena project from extended legal action relating to environmental issues.

MSG owns The Forum, a multi-purpose arena in Inglewood located just blocks away from where the Clippers plan on building their new home. Newsom granted the Clippers project certification last month.

According to the Times, MSG’s lawsuit read: “It is invalid ‘special’ legislation under the clearly established California Supreme Court precedent; it grants the Legislature power reserved for the executive and judicial branches; and it curtails the judiciary’s constitutional jurisdiction to review executive action in favour of review by a single legislative committee, violating the Constitution’s separation of powers.”

MSG has long opposed the project. Chris Meany, the lead developer for the Clippers arena, dismissed the lawsuit as “the latest desperate attempt in an all-out legal onslaught” to prevent the project from progressing.

In September, the Clippers sought to enhance their bid to develop the arena by stating they will commit $100m (£77m/€90m) in benefits for the city. In July, the Clippers revealed the first images of the planned new arena and the team has said its “community benefit plan” would be the largest of its type for a stadium or entertainment venue developed in the state of California.

The Clippers have played at Staples Center, owned and operated by AEG, since 1999. The team’s owner, Steve Ballmer, is planning to move the Clippers to a privately financed development anchored by an 18,500-seat arena, in time for the completion of its lease deal at Staples Center in 2024.

The proposed complex is across the street from SoFi Stadium, which will be the home of the NFL’s Rams and Chargers from this summer.

Image: LA Clippers