Mud-Slinging Continues Long After Arena Deal Dies

The downtown arena plan is dead, but the two sides in the arena battle have resumed throwing accusations at one another.

The pro-arena group Think Big has asked the Attorney General of the United States to investigate the Maloofs, the Kings owners, for possible criminal conduct. The Maloofs responded through their spokesperson, saying Think Big should change its name to Think Big Fraud.

The latest spat stems from a letter sent to David Stern last month. The letter criticized the Maloofs for their handling of the arena project, and asked Stern to encourage the Kings owners to sell the team. The letter was signed by a group of self-described local business leaders.

Late last week, media reports indicated that the Maloofs had hired a former FBI agent to investigate the authenticity of the signatures on the letter. Calls were made to some of the men whose names appear on the letter, asking if they really signed the document, or if their names were forged.

Monday, Think Big Executive Director Chris Lehane responded by suggesting to the US Attorney General that the Maloofs might be guilty of criminal conduct, harassment and intimidation of Sacramento businesses. Lehane asked for an investigation.

The Maloofs response, through spokesperson Eric Rose was, “It is becoming clearer that the foundation of Think Big is built on fabrication and deception.  The name of the organization should be changed to Think Big Fraud.”

Greg Hayes, one of the organizers of the April letter to Stern, told FOX40 News Monday afternoon, that some of the signatures on the letter were done by proxy. Hayes said some of the signees were not available to sign in person, but all gave their permission to have their names added.

Hayes also indicated to FOX40, in a telephone conversation, that after the letter was sent to Stern, two of the signees had second thoughts and asked to have their names removed. According to Hayes, the men agreed with the tone of the letter, but "for business reasons" asked that their names be removed.

Maloof spokesman Rose told FOX40 he had no comment on the reports that the Kings owners investigated the letter signatures because it is the Maloofs policy not to discuss internal business, but he added "I think that we may be able to discuss this issue in greater detail in the near future."