"I have a very good relationship with the Seattle Mayor (Greg Nickels), and think the world of that city. I've vacationed there several times. I think it's a beautiful place. I've just been proactively pushing my own city's pursuit of a team."
On Dec. 20, Cornett unveiled a plan to fund $120 million of improvements to the Ford Center through a one-cent sales tax extension in hopes of luring an NBA team. Oklahoma City voters will decide through a March 4 election whether to support the proposal.
One possible reason Seattle attorneys have targeted Cornett could be the alleged positive economic impact he and Sonics chairman Clay Bennett have said an NBA franchise could have on Oklahoma City. Attorneys for the Sonics, meanwhile, have used the opposite argument in their attempt to flee Seattle, saying the Sonics provide little to no economic impact and wouldn't be missed in Washington.
Seattle city officials are attempting to prevent the Sonics from relocating to Oklahoma City before the expiration of the team's arena contract in September 2010. Sonics owners seek a ruling from Pechman that would allow them to escape the arena contract's final two years by paying off the remainder of the lease.