Judge denies request to block funding tied to Detroit arena

Jay Anderson
June 20, 2017

A federal judge has ruled against issuing a preliminary injunction in a federal lawsuit aimed at blocking a deal that would bring the Detroit Pistons back to downtown Detroit.

"This uncertainty creates material financial risk to the Pistons and may affect the NBA's evaluation of, and willingness to vote upon or approve of, the Pistons' proposed relocation", Campbell said in the affidavit.

The suit, which was filed by D. Etta Wilcoxon and Robert Davis, also contended that the agreement to move the tax dollars would violate Detroiters voting rights.

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The NBA's board of governors is set to meet on July 11th to formally vote on the move from the Palace of Auburn Hills to Little Caesars Arena. According to an affidavit from the team's chief financial officer, Greg Campbell, the National Basketball Association may not approve the Pistons' move to downtown Detroit if "all legal and financing matters are not settled before its board meets next month".

The MSF approved the Catalyst Development Project for the Detroit Downtown Development Authority and Olympia Development of Michigan, LLC, and an inducement resolution for issuance of $450 million in private bonds to finance construction. According to David Fink, an attorney representing the DDA, this default would have a devastating impact on the city's credit rating.

In an eight-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark A. Goldsmith said the granting of the temporary injunction would not merely delay the Piston move to the city, but likely cancel the plans entirely and "cause a ripple effect of lost business revenue in the district for years to come".

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