MSG Company Releases Statement on NYDN's Story on James Dolan, Inglewood Lawsuit

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistJuly 17, 2019

Madison Square Garden Chairman & CEO James Dolan attends the ceremony marking Billy Joel's 100th performance at New York's Madison Square Garden, Wednesday, July 18, 2018. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Richard Drew/Associated Press

The Madison Square Garden Company released a statement Wednesday regarding a New York Daily News piece on New York Knicks owner James Dolan's lawsuit against the city of Inglewood, California.

In the Daily News article written by Stefan Bondy and Nancy Dillon, it was reported that Dolan is suing Inglewood to prevent the construction of a new arena for the Los Angeles Clippers because of the MSG Company's stake in The Forum, which is also located in Inglewood.

In the article, it is alleged that Dolan is attempting to "derail the development plans of a low-income city."

The MSG Company offered the following statement in response:

"It is common knowledge that the Daily News has a vendetta against MSG. This is attributable to a disgruntled former employee that was fired by Mr. Dolan from his position at Newsday. That employee was Timothy Knight who is now CEO of Tribune Publishing, the owner of the Daily News. This story, based on cherry-picked portions of a deposition that are grossly misleading, is just the latest evidence of how low they are willing to go with their attacks."

In the Daily News piece, Editor-in-Chief Robert York said, "There is no truth to the claim of a vendetta by anyone toward Mr. Dolan or anyone at MSG. The NYDN's sole mission is to accurately report relevant news and this piece fits the classic definition of newsworthy information."

The MSG Company called that "totally false" and a "blatant disregard for the truth."

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Additionally, Bondy and Dillon reported that Dolan attempted to influence the Inglewood mayoral election by contributing nearly $1 million to Marc Little's campaign. Little was beaten handily by incumbent Mayor James Butts in November.

The report also noted that Dolan said he "barely knew" Little despite contributing so heavily to his campaign.

In 2012, Dolan partnered with Irving Azoff to purchase The Forum with the goal of making it a premier venue for concerts. Azoff reportedly claimed that Butts tricked him into terminating a parking lot lease, which opened the door for the Clippers to potentially build a new arena in Inglewood.

Per Bondy and Dillon, Dolan's vendetta against Butts and desire to help The Forum maintain its status as the top venue in Inglewood led to him supporting Little.

The Clippers currently play at Staples Center in Los Angeles along with the Los Angeles Lakers, but with their lease set to expire in 2024, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer is said to want a new venue lined up by then.

Bondy noted NBA commissioner Adam Silver tried to broker a meeting with Dolan and Ballmer concerning the issues. Bondy also added Dolan approached Lakers owner Jeanie Buss twice about relocating the team.