In an ironic turn of events, Howard Schultz is trying to go from zero to hero among the Sonic faithful.
Nearly two years after selling the Sonics to the Professional Basketball Club — a group of conniving Oklahoma City businessmen — the Starbucks mogul is preparing to file a lawsuit against Sonics chairman Clayton Bennett to rescind the July 2006 sale.
Schultz claims that Bennett broke his good-faith promise to try to keep the team here.
When Bennett purchased the Sonics and its sister WNBA franchise, the Storm, for $350 million, he agreed he would make an effort to keep both teams in Seattle.
In January, Bennett sold the Storm to four prominent business women, including Lisa Brummel, senior vice president for human resources at Microsoft and Dawn Trudeau, a former Microsoft executive.
Keeping the Storm is fine and dandy, but what efforts did Bennett and Co. make to keep the Sonics in Seattle?
E-mails among the Oklahoma City owners, made public last week, show that Bennett’s group had no desire to keep the Sonics here. They wanted to move the Sonics as soon as possible.
One Oklahoma City owner sent an e-mail to Bennett last April that read: “Is there any way to move here (Oklahoma City) for next season or are we doomed to have another lame duck season in Seattle?”
Bennett responded: “I am a man possessed! Will do everything we can. Thanks for hanging with me boys, the game is getting started!”
Like many Sonic fans, I was very upset to hear such comments, but at the same time, it did not surprise me. I had a bad feeling when I heard Schultz sold the Sonics to a group of Oklahoma City businessmen. I knew when the sale went down, the Sonics’ days in Seattle were numbered.
And the more I heard about Bennett and his efforts to keep the Sonics around, the more I smelled a rat. I knew it was just posturing for the inevitable: The Sonics moving to Oklahoma City.
I have to admit, when Schultz sold the Sonics, I swore I would never step foot in a Starbucks, which is hard to do around these parts. But now the man I loved to hate is leading a great 2-for-1 charge I fully support: Keeping the Sonics here and ruining Bennett’s money-making plans.
I guess a Starbucks hazelnut latte sounds pretty good right now.
Bill Christianson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (425) 867-0353.