Share “Plan hatched to keep Sonics in Seattle”

By Chris Casteel Modified: June 20, 2008 at 5:06 pm •  Published: June 20, 2008
p /> But he testified today that he never did anything to do that.

Walker signed a contract in February with the city’s law firm in this case to be a consultant, though the contract was retroactive to last September, before the “poisoned well” plan was discussed.

Paul Taylor, an attorney for the owners, sought to show that Walker was in fact working for the city of Seattle against the owners when the meeting was held at his house.

He showed an e-mail Walker had written in which Walker said the goal was to make it “too expensive and too litigious” for the owners to stay in Seattle.

“You wanted to make it too expensive to leave,’’ Taylor said to Walker.

“True,’’ Walker said.

“And you wanted to make it too litigious to leave, true?’’

“I wrote it an e-mail.’’

Taylor also showed an e-mail written by local businessman John Stanton, who had an ownership interest in the Sonics before the Oklahoma City group bought the team, saying that he agreed “completely that it should be excruciating for Clay to consider early departure.’’

But under friendly questioning from city attorney Paul Lawrence, Walker said he was just trying to keep the Sonics in Seattle and didn’t care who owned the team.

Lawrence said, “Have you ever taken any actions that would force them to sell or force them to incur huge losses?”

“No,’’ Walker said.

“You’re just a basketball fan who wants to save the Sonics for Seattle?”

“That’s correct.”

Testimony in the trial is expected to end today, and closing arguments are scheduled for June 26. U.S District Judge Marsha Pechman has not set a timetable for announcing a ruling on whether the team must play the last two years in the arena here.

For the first time all week, Pechman indicated some knowledge of the team’s history.

When Lawrence asked Walker to give some biographical information about his time with the team, Pechman said, “I’ve seen Mr. Walker play ... and I was there in the late 70s watching him.’’

When Lawrence asked about the Sonics’ sole championship team, in 1979, Pechman said, “I was there, too.”

City of Seattle's 'poisoned well' documents