SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Billionaire Chris Hansen must pay $50,000 for his role in a secretive effort to funnel money to a group trying to thwart Sacramento’s efforts to build a new downtown arena, the California Fair Political Practices Commission said Monday.
The FPPC found that, just days after the NBA rejected Hansen’s $625 million bid to buy the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, he gave $100,000 to a group leading an effort to thwart Sacramento’s efforts to keep the team.
A group of investors led by technology executive Vivek Ranadive bought the team for $535 million, one day after the NBA rejected Hansen’s bid.
The NBA has said that Sacramento must build a modern arena to keep the Kings in town. The team’s new owners have set a 2016 target.
The state political watchdog found that Hansen gave $100,000 to a group gathering signatures to thwart Sacramento’s plan to keep the team by forcing a citywide vote on the city’s planned $258 million subsidy for a downtown arena.
Hansen tried to buy the team earlier this year as city officials scrambled to find a buyer who would keep the franchise in Sacramento.
The FPPC said Hansen is being punished for failing to file a campaign statement. Hansen has agreed to the fine, and the commission will vote to make it official.
The hedge fund manager has apologized, saying he regretted his actions.
“I take a lot of pride trying to do things the right way in my life, and I simply should not have allowed myself to get caught up in the competitive dynamics of this situation and never should have agreed to commit any funds to the Sacramento Arena opposition — under any circumstances,” Hansen said in a statement posted on his website.