SEATTLE — Former Seattle SuperSonics owner Howard Schultz plans to sue to get the team back from its Oklahoma City-based ownership group.
The lawyer for Howard Schultz, Richard Yarmuth, said Monday he plans to sue Clay Bennett's Professional Basketball Club in the next two weeks to prevent him from moving the NBA franchise to Oklahoma City.
Yarmuth said Bennett failed to make a good-faith effort to fulfill a promise made at the time of the 2006 sale to keep the basketball team in Seattle.
"The damages that are being sought is to rescind, unwind the transaction,” Yarmuth said. "It's not money damage, it's to have the team returned.”
After buying the team, Bennett launched a public effort to try to put together a deal for a new arena in the Seattle area. Those plans failed to get support from the city and the state.
Recently disclosed e-mail between Bennett and other owners showed they have been talking about moving the team to Oklahoma City since April 2007.
NBA owners meet Friday to vote on the proposal to move the team.
"The theory of the suit is that when the team was sold, the Basketball Club of Seattle, our team here, relied on promises made by Clay Bennett and his ownership that they desired to keep the team in Seattle and intended to make a good-faith effort to accomplish that.”
Bennett's spokesman, Dan Mahoney, and NBA spokesman Tim Frank did not respond to calls for comment.
Meanwhile, the Sonics sent a letter Monday to season ticket holders that read in part: "With the current uncertainty surrounding the team's status about playing in Seattle for the 2008-09 season, we feel the prudent course of action is to wait until this matter is resolved before presenting you with renewal information.”
Read Gregoire's letter to the NBA