Nobody can read a judges mind, but just about every party involved in the Sonics/City dispute believe that we will certainly see a decision on whether the Sonics lease is arbitration eligible this week. Most expect it today.
The city is confident, but not overconfident. The strategy there is that there are a number of battles going on, with venue being first and foremost followed by things such as whether a judge/arbiter rules on intent, whether they provide injunctive release vs a cash settlement, etc., etc. The feeling is that the city can afford to lose a number of these battles so long as they get one big win. The team on the other hand has to win all of them or it will lose the three year war. For example the city can lose this decision on court VS arbitration and still take it to arbitration and win.
Should the city win and a determination come about that this is not arbitration eligible the federal court process will likely take as much as a year to get a court date.
In other good news I continue to hear chatter about the Mayor being significantly more active in the last several weeks than he ever has been regarding an arena. There is a viable plan coming together and it is well fleshed out and has some dynamic twists. It will involve a combination of private and public money. Wish I could tell you more but we should all be supportive of Mayor Nickels right now.
On the class action front people should be aware that a second firm has joined the case. The law office of Keller Rohrback is a large Seattle class action attorney who I believe was the firm who successfully filed the Exxon Valdez complaint. Days after the first case was filed they filed a similar complaint. Why did they do that? Because it is a winner.
The two firms have consolidated into one superpower and will be considered joint council on the matter. It is a lot of extra horsepower. Look for a new joint complaint to be filed today. This complaint will specifically request injunctive action from a judge asking the team to deliver on their promise to ticket holders by ceasing and desisting any efforts to leave prior to 2010. I will have the wording of the document available once it is officially filed.
Clay Bennett Meanwhile told the USA today that he had pledged $100 million to an arena here and that is news to me. Let me say that if Clay would ever commit to that number I will be one of the first people out there demanding that the politicians take note. If he's just trying to make that claim at the last minute so that he can say "he made every effort" then it is pretty transparent. We need to get over these games and get everybody in the same room.
Ride the roller coaster up and down but do not lose hope. This thing will work out. The Sonics will not have a lame duck season!