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Another lawsuit targets proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood

Another lawsuit targets proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood
Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts speaks at a City Council meeting last year. (Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

The latest lawsuit to target the proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood alleges two city-linked boards violated state laws governing open meetings and the environmental impact of construction projects in June when they approved disposing of land connected to the plan.

In a complaint filed Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the group Inglewood Residents Against Takings and Evictions asked for an injunction preventing the land’s transfer until the boards comply with the Brown Act and California’s Environmental Quality Act.

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“The failure to adequately inform the public is consistent with and further evidence of the City of Inglewood’s deliberate attempts to obfuscate the true nature of actions taken to further the Clippers Arena Project,” the 27-page complaint said.

Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr. disagreed. In an email to the Los Angeles Times, he described the allegations as “another in a series of frivolous lawsuits, from a non-existent group of persons to date never seen, whose sole purpose is apparently to attempt to delay or obstruct the [exclusive negotiating agreement] process for the potential NBA arena.”

At least four other lawsuits related to the arena have been filed since the privately-financed project became public in June 2017. One of those lawsuits, also filed by the Hermosa Beach law firm Chatten-Brown & Carstens representing Inglewood Residents Against Takings and Evictions, is scheduled for a hearing in December.

The complaint last week accused the Successor Agency to the Inglewood Redevelopment Agency (composed of Butts and Inglewood’s four other City Council members) and the Oversight Board to the Successor Agency to the Inglewood Redevelopment Agency (on which Butts serves) of not informing the public that the disposition of 13 parcels of land was connected to the arena.

Neither meeting notice, required to be issued 72 hours before the gathering, noted the connection between the agenda items and the arena.

“The Oversight Board failed to inform the public that the properties are proposed to be disposed of pursuant to an agreement with extensive potential impacts on thousands of Inglewood residents and businesses,” the complaint said, adding that residents “could not have reasonably understood the nature of the action or the implications of the same” from the agenda language.

Most of the 13 parcels at issue, all vacant, are located along West Century Boulevard between South Prairie Avenue and South Yukon Avenue. Stan Kroenke’s 298-acre sports and entertainment complex that includes a stadium for the Rams and Chargers is under construction across the street.

The arena project is currently in an environmental review process that is expected to take 18 months. Eighty-four percent of the 23 acres that would include the arena, as well as a training facility, team offices, hotel and more, is owned by Inglewood or the two agencies.

Though the Clippers signed an exclusive negotiating agreement with Inglewood last year to explore building the arena, the team’s lease to play at Staples Center runs through 2024.

Developers are expected to release the first renderings for the arena this fall.

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