Howard Schultz, Starbucks chairman and CEO

By Jenni Carlson Modified: May 5, 2008 at 9:31 am •  Published: May 5, 2008

What he's defending: Even though Bennett said his group wanted to keep the Sonics in Seattle, Schultz has been grilled by fans and pundits. The new owners were viewed not only outsiders but also oilmen, not a welcome combo in the eco-friendly Northwest.

Schultz stayed largely silent about the sale, but then on April 22, he sued Bennett and his group. The lawsuit seeks to rescind the sale, depriving the group of "the fruits of its deception" and holding the team in trust until an "honest buyer" can be found.

Most legal experts contend the suit is a long shot, leading many to believe Schultz is trying to save face, not the Sonics. His good-guy reputation has taken a serious hit in Seattle.

Sonic sound bite: "I am filing this lawsuit because, having had direct interaction and communication with Clay Bennett during the weeks leading to our ownership group sale of the team, I was convinced that (his) group was the right choice based on both oral and written representations that they would keep the Sonics in Seattle. In light of recent evidence that has emerged, those representations apparently were untrue." — Schultz in an April 22 letter to members of his ownership group

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