Architects and arena designers are giving glowing reviews to the National Basketball Association’s new San Francisco arena. The Golden State Warriors’ ownership put in a bunch of money to pay for estimated $1.4 billion dollars arena price tag. It is a playpen for the rich. But there hasn’t been enough said about the Golden State Warriors’ ownership fight to not pay off an estimated $40 million worth of bonds that were sold to pay for the 1996 renovation of the Warriors’ former home in Oakland. Alameda County and Oakland want the money but the present Warriors’ ownership doesn’t think the debt is their responsibility and the ownership group has been seeking a court to back them up. So far the basketball team owners have not been successful and have fought a losing battle trying not to pay off the debt. The ownership has claimed that, when it left Oakland, it could just walk away from the debt. An arbitrator has said no. A San Francisco Superior Court judge has said no.
In 1996, Chris Cohan who owned the Warriors franchise, understood the renovation agreement’s terms after all he signed the document that called for the renovations. When he sold the Warriors to Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, his lawyers told the pair about the debt obligation. Warriors’ lawyers claim that the new ownership didn’t terminate the deal. They failed to exercise their option to renew it. An arbitrator and a judge have both rejected argument. Warriors’ ownership celebrated its Oakland stay with a banner saluting the Oakland arena which now hangs in San Francisco. Warriors’ owners walked away from the Oakland building because didn’t generate the massive revenues they wanted. Oakland has an empty building problem. Many musical acts and other arena fare will follow the money and go to the Warriors’ building bypassing Oakland. There also is that debt problem that Warriors ownership wants to not pay off.