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Slade Gorton, City of Seattle attorney

By Jenni Carlson Modified: May 5, 2008 at 9:30 am •  Published: May 5, 2008
Role in the fight: Gorton is lead counsel in the lawsuit seeking to hold the Sonics to the final two years of their KeyArena lease.

Why he's fighting: The former U.S. Senator has helped bring and keep pro franchises in Seattle before.

Then the Washington state attorney general, Gorton sued the American League in 1976 on behalf of local government. The suit alleged breach of contract after the Seattle Pilots moved to Milwaukee to become the Brewers after only one season.

Seattle's compensation: the expansion Mariners in 1977.

Like Howard Schultz's attorney Richard Yarmuth, Gorton was involved with efforts to find new Mariners owners after a move to Florida was threatened. His influence as a senator, a position he held for 18 years, helped persuade Nintendo to buy the baseball franchise and keep it in Seattle.

When the new owners threatened a move a few years later, Gorton again interceded. He helped broker a lease deal that required significant concessions from the city.

What he's defending: For months, Gorton used hard-line tactics on the city's behalf; Seattle turned down a $26.5 million buyout offer from the Sonics in February. The former military man has been critical of everyone from state politicians to NBA types, too.

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