King County councilman asks prosecutor to review arena legal costs

July 10, 2012

By Warren Kagarise

NEW — 8 a.m. July 10, 2012

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer called Monday for the King County prosecutor to investigate legal costs involved in reviewing a proposed agreement to build a $490 million Seattle sports and entertainment arena.

In a letter to King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg, von Reichbauer said the review is meant to help the councilman evaluate the proposal by understanding the number of hours attorneys in the prosecutor’s office spent reviewing the agreement and the cost of review.

In addition, von Reichbauer asked Satterberg to determine how much the county has spent so far on outside attorneys to assist in the review, and how much the office expects to spend on outside attorneys in the next 30 days.

The request comes as the King County Council and the Seattle City Council delve deeper into the proposal to build a facility for NBA basketball and NHL hockey.

The councilman also plans to request similar information about legal costs from the Seattle city attorney.

In May, County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn, joined by arena investor Chris Hansen, a San Francisco hedge fund manager, announced agreements between the county, city and the ArenaCo investment group to govern financing for a proposed arena near Safeco Field.

In order for the agreement to proceed, King County Council and Seattle City Council members must sign off on the proposal.

The amount of public support is capped at $120 million if organizers secure only the NBA franchise. The total could rise to $200 million if the NHL is added to the equation.

In June, von Reichbauer called for the Seattle arena proposal to go before voters as the project proceeds.

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