Patrick Soluri, an obscure attorney at a law firm called Soluri Meserve, wrote a letter today to the City of Sacramento claiming a public referendum will be sought if Sacramento tries to save the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle by building an arena.
The goal would not be to actually have a referendum, but to stall Sacramento’s efforts to help build an arena and have a plan in place for the NBA Board of Governors to consider when deciding whether the Sacramento Kings will stay in Sacramento or become the new Seattle SuperSonics.
Evidently, Patrick Soluri is not a sports fan.
As reported by the Sacramento Bee, Patrick Soluri wrote this letter without identifying any client. In a subsequent conversation with the Bee, Patrick Soluri was unable to identify any client he actually represents. The Bee article is here.
Aside from the fact Patrick Soluri is attempting to interfere with private agreements to build an arena and purchase the Sacramento Kings, he is attempting to interfere with the government process.
Mr. Soluri’s letter apparently claimed government partnership in a new arena would be an illegal “gift of public funds.” That is absurd. I have litigated a gift of public funds issue before, in another context, and it is simply a misplaced argument made by those grasping at straws without strong legal foundation. And, apparently, attorneys unable to identify if they have a client.
It could be that Patrick Soluri’s letter is a publicity stunt intended to attract someone who would serve as his client.
According to the California State Bar website, the attorney listing for Patrick Soluri (provided by Mr. Soluri) states his expertise is environmental law. That would not be government law. That is not sports law either. He letter apparently claims an arena would not be an economic catalyst. Apparently, Mr. Soluri is also an economist, a CPA, and somehow knows better than those who are actually working on the details of an arena plan yet to be publicly released.
This may come as a surprise to Patrick Soluri,but cities and public agencies have provided money, including what might be called subsidies, to sports arenas across the country for decades. Including in California.
Since Patrick Soluri is a little weak on clients and legal research, let us help him out. The “referendum” claim was made by someone trying to stop the San Francisco 49ers new stadium in Santa Clara and it was rejected by the courts.
But Mr. Solari knows this. Last year, sometime in 2012, The Santa Clara Weekly reported attorney Patrick Solari requested copies of documents from the case from the court
Cities, like Sacramento, commonly provide money for various events, including the arts (maybe Mr. Soluri is not a fan of the Crocker Art Museum either) and helping the homeless.
This is where it gets interesting. A “gift of public funds” often means money is being used to benefit a particular person instead of the public at large. This means if Sacramento gives a helping hand to a homeless person then maybe Patrick Solari will send a letter demanding the practice stop. An entertainment complex, on the other hand, which the city would profit from just like it is profiting now from the arena the Kings currently play in due to a loan from the City of Sacramento (!).
Moreover, the public at large benefits from being able to watch professional sports, world class NBA players who visit every year, and from better and larger entertainers putting on shows in Sacramento.
Or, maybe Patrick Soluri prefers to travel a 100 miles to San Francisco to watch big name entertainers who skip Sacramento because their productions will not fit in the currently outdated arena.
Evidently, Mr. Soluri is not a fan of Sacramento.
Maybe he thinks it is a “gift of public funds” if the City of Sacramento buys paper from the local office supply store. After all, that is an expenditure of public funds made payable to a private company. That is not even an investment with a financial return, like a sports arena.
Interestingly, the Soluri Meserve “law firm” website is down.
Although it is true even mass murderers are entitled to an attorney, those attorneys are often hired for that role and paid by the state. Private attorneys, like Patrick Soluri, select and choose which clients they want to represent and be associated with. It is a voluntary and intentional decision on their part – not a role to play as part of their regular employment like a public defender.
Why makes you wonder, why would you have anything to do with Patrick Soluri if this is what he chooses to do with his law degree and who he chooses to represent?
The Bee Articles says Mr. Soluri’s letter was also presented with attorney Jeff Anderson. It turns out Mr. Soluri and Mr. Anderson have a history. They were both attorneys representing Occupy Sacramento protestors against the City of Sacramento. Big surprise. Nothing like a bunch of protestors harming local businesses and the public at large (remember businesses closing and trashing of the park?), and here come Patrick Soluri and Jeff Anderson to their defense. There is a pattern here.
These publicity seeking nits seem to be looking for ways to go against the City of Sacramento. Now that the “Occupy Movement” has been relegated to the trash bin of soon to be forgotten recent history, they have a new cause to put themselves back in the media spotlight.
Unfortunately for a lawyer like Patrick Soluri, reporting like this exists.
So while lawyers like Soluri and Anderson are doing the best to try and kick Sacramento’s only major professional sports franchise out of town, I was also reviewing court records, came across the Kings Right of First Refusal issue, and while explaining the legal ramifications asked the Bee to confirm with the bankruptcy trustee that the issue exists. Too bad Soluri isn’t spending his time and money to try and save the Kings.
So let us recap:
Attorney Patrick Soluri is …
Unwilling (or unable) to name a client, assuming he has one (which is doubtful from reading the Bee article), his legal reasoning is weak and factual understandings misguided.
This is not someone you want to have as your attorney.
If you ever come across Patrick Soluri, suggest that he might want to move to Seattle.