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First Day Of Trial For Arena Subsidies Lawsuit

  

A lawsuit against the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Kings has gone to trial.

The group Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed To Pork claims the city gave the Kings as much as $200 million in undisclosed "sweeteners" as part of a deal to build a new arena.

The plaintiffs hope to use dozens of emails to prove the city failed to operate independently while negotiating with the team.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson founded the Think Big initiative and staffed it with some people who had worked in his office -including Kunal Merchant, his former chief-of-staff. Merchant and Jeff Dorso, an attorney for the initiative received emails from Assistant City Manager John Dangberg asking for their input on various items that were going to be put before city council.

Many of the emails discussed today were about the gift of city land to the Kings to use for billboards.

Dangberg told the court the parcels were so small that they were useless for any city purpose, but became valuable when traded to the team for other considerations.

The Kings and the city say all parts of the deal were publicly disclosed prior to being approved by the city council.