Lawsuit alleges City of Inglewood violated state laws in Clippers negotiations

ByRamona Shelburne ESPN logo
Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A group of Inglewood residents filed a lawsuit Tuesday alleging the city violated state laws by entering into an exclusive negotiating agreement to develop public land for theLos Angeles Clippers' new stadium.

This is the second lawsuit filed in the past three months against the City of Inglewood related to the Clippers' proposed stadium.

In March, the owner of the Inglewood Forum filed a lawsuit against the City of Inglewood and its mayor, James T Butts, alleging that they held secret negotiations with the Clippers about building a new arena adjacent to the Forum and the site of the Los Angeles Rams' future home.

Tuesday's lawsuit was filed by a community group, Uplift Inglewood Coalition, alleging that the city violated the Surplus Land Act which requires public agency to give first priority to affordable housing when selling public land.

The proposed site of the Clippers' arena is on 15 acres of city-owned property which had been leased by the Forum for overflow parking since 2011.

The latest lawsuit argues that that land should have been made available for affordable housing development before it was offered to the Clippers, as more than 80 percent of Inglewood's population qualifies for some form of subsidized housing.

"We don't know why they continue to push in the face of such strong residential opposition," said Dr. D'Artagnan Scorza, a local resident, school board member and member of Uplift Inglewood. "It doesn't make any sense to us except that they're facing a $17 million budget deficit as a result of financial mismanagement and they're probably trying to figure out a way to shore up the city's finances utilizing these projects."

This month, new state assembly member Sydney Kamlanger-Dov introduced a bill that would fast-track the development of the Clippers' arena, allowing it to bypass state environmental laws.The Clippers have argued the assembly bill is similar to what other stadiums built in California have received -- a streamlined process so opposition can't hold up the project indefinitely.