MEDIA STATEMENT REGARDING PRESENCE OF A SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE CLAUSE IN THE SEATTLE SUPERSONICS LEASE
After careful review of the lease agreement between Supersonics and the City of Seattle, there is a clear and unambiguous provision providing either party may specifically enforce the obligations of the other party.
Page 59, Paragraph L of the Lease states:
Enforcement of this agreement: The obligations of Parties to this Agreement are unique in nature; this Agreement may be specifically enforced by either Party.
Save Our Sonics and Storm legal advisors Paul Schneiderman and Aaron Wolff provide the following statement:
â€œA specific performance clause is a contractual duty requiring the parties to specifically perform the duties and terms of the contract. In this matter specific performance could require the team to play all regularly scheduled games at the Key Arena through the 2010 season.â€
In an initial meeting with Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr the City Attorneyâ€™s Office confirmed they have conducted a preliminary review of the lease, recognize that specific performance is addressed in the contract, and in general terms agree the lease is enforceable. Furthermore, they indicated that their office is prepared to enforce the lease if directed by the Mayor. Gregory Narver, who has been assigned this issue, provided a Minnesota Court of Appeals case pertaining to the Twins baseball club. In this case the court concluded that the Twins were required by their contract to play all games anticipated at the time of the signing of the contract.
The City Attorney advised that under the City of Seattle the Mayor is ultimately responsible for enforcement of this lease and that his office would act as directed by the Mayor.
It is the intent of the Save our Sonics and Storm, in conjunction with the citizens of Seattle and Supersonics and Storm Fans throughout the region, to ensure city officials uphold the provisions of the lease.
SOS&S is exploring all options to ensure that both the City and PBC abide by the terms of the existing lease and encourages any affected businesses or individuals to contact the Mayorâ€™s office regarding this issue.
(EXERPTS FROM) METROPOLITAN SPORTS FACILITIES COMMISSION V. MINNESOTA TWINS PARTNERSHIP, 638 n.w. 2D 214 (2002)
THE COURT TOOK JUDICIAL NOTICE OF THE IMPORTANCE OF PROFESSIONAL SPORTS IN CITIZENS SOCIAL LIVES, THE ENTERTAINMENT AND RECREATIONAL PURPOSES THE STADIUM WOULD SERVE, THE JOBS THE STADIUM WOULD PROVIDE, AND THE ANTICIPATED BENEFITS TO NEIGHBORING BUSINESSES.
IN ADDITION, LEGAL COMMENTATORS HAVE RECOGNIZED THAT MONEY DAMAGES ARE NOT SUFFICIENT TO COMPENSATE FOR THE HARM SUFFERED BY A COMMUNITY FOR THE LOSS OF A PROFESSIONAL SPORTS TEAMâ€¦.
MERELY ALLOWING THE CITY TO RECOVER CONTRACT DAMAGES FOR THE PREMATURE LOSS OF A TEAM DOES NOT PROVIDE ADEQUATE COMPENSATION FOR THE CITIES LOST BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN IN PROVIDING THE PUBLIC FINANCIAL INDUCEMENTS NECESSARY TO ATTRACT OR RETAIN A SPORTS FRANCHISE. THE VALUE OF SUCH BENEFITS IS VIRTUALLY IMPOSSIBLE TO QUANTIFY AND THEREFORE, IS NOT RECOVERABLE FOR THE TEAM OWNERS BREACH OF CONTRACT.
MONEY DAMAGES MAY COMPENSATE A DEVELOPER OR MANUFACTURER BUT MONEY CANNOT COMPENSATE THE PEOPLE FOR IMMEASURABLE INDIRECT AND INTANGIBLE BENEFITS.
Statements from local businesses:
With 41 home dates for the Sonics and 16 home dates for the Storm, those 57 days, which do not count the playoffs should either team make it, represent a substantial amount of revenue for SPORT restaurant over the course of the year.
If the City Council, Governor or any other elected official, allow Clay Bennett to opt out of the lease which runs through the year 2010, I feel it is a direct slap in the face to every business in the surrounding area that depends on that revenue in order to maintain some stability in this unstable market place. I also firmly believe that the Seattle Supersonics are an important part of Seattleâ€™s culture and history and to lose our NBA franchise would detract from all that Seattle has to offer.
-Paul E. Gould, General Manager/SPORT Restaurant & Bar
We came into the Lower Queen Anne neighborhood 17 years ago. The Sonics were a big part of our business plan. A substantial part of our marketing dollars go to the Sonics crowd each year.
We extended our lease a few years ago knowing that the lease between the Sonics and the city of Seattle went through the year 2010. If they were to break the lease it would have a significant negative impact on our revenues.
As a small business owner we have to abide by our lease or risk the possibility of losing our homes. We are hoping that Clay Bennett will also abide by the lease that he agreed to when he bought the Sonics.
-Don Tremblay, TS McHughes