Apparently unsatisfied with merely ripping the Seattle Supersonics away from a loyal fanbase of 40+ years, Clay Bennett’s ownership group has turned their bullying homeward. In a shocking change of policy, Bennett is literally threatening the Oklahoma legislature with the prospect of not moving the team unless lawmakers approve a tax rebate for the organization.
The nerve of this motherfucker is unbelievable.
Per newsok.com, the team is seeking “a rebate on a portion of payroll taxes it will pay if it relocates”. Some local Republicans view the proposed rebate as corporate welfare. It has already failed once in the state senate.
“I want the Sonics here. I’m just not favorable to this sweetheart deal,” Rep. Paul Wesselhoft – R said. “We’ve been blackmailed from the beginning on this.”
Rep. Charlie Joyner, R-Midwest City, who also voted against the bill, said he received an e-mail from Bennett that said the team might not come to Oklahoma City unless the House passes the tax incentive.
“I just don’t think this thing has been handled right. That’s kind of holding legislators hostage,” Joyner said.
“I’m not anti-NBA, but this is not right.”
Now I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m totally oblivious to Oklahoma state politics, and this sort of surprised me. I was under the impression that the city and state would bend over backwards to accommodate their robber baron. Consider me impressed.
On the other hand, I find it wholly indicative of Bennett’s character that he appears to be unsastified with the terms under which he’s being permitted to hijack a team. You don’t amass billions by forgetting to ask for more, after all.
In case anyone (cough, Bomani Jones, cough) thinks this Sonics story is refreshing in a “Isn’t it awesome that this guy bought a team for his hometown because I would totally do that if I had that much money” sort of way, it’s not.
This is a story about one asshole (Bennett) who, with the help of his asshole friend (Stern), demands everyone plays by his rules and threatens those who dare defy him. There is no altruism here. There is no joy here. Just assholes.
Sonics owners push tax incentives (The Oklahoman)
Clay Bennett has one fan, at least (Page 2)