Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cal Expo & Parkway

A major aspect of the arena deal will be the recreational development that can occur in the Parkway part of the Cal Expo area which can add immeasurably to the overall recreational destination value of the complex, and seeing the distinguished former governor, Pete Wilson, selected as the lead consultant, is wonderful news.

Wilson joins arena team
Cal Expo picks ex-governor and colleagues to handle the early talks with the NBA.
By Mary Lynne Vellinga -
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, October 27, 2007

Cal Expo on Friday tapped former Republican Gov. Pete Wilson to negotiate a deal with the NBA for a new Kings arena at the state fairgrounds.

Members of Cal Expo's executive committee voted unanimously to retain Wilson, who is a lawyer, and sports consultant Gregory Clark. Both Wilson and Clark work for Bingham McCutchen, an international law firm.

Cal Expo has agreed to pay the firm $400 an hour for each man's services over the next two months – an amount that Cal Expo staff members described as a significant discount from their customary rates.

Two other Bingham consultants, Sean Walsh and Tom Gede, will work for Cal Expo without pay. Walsh served as press secretary during the Wilson administration and also worked as a senior policy adviser and director of the the state Office of Planning and Research for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Walsh and Gede are in the process of opening a Sacramento office for Bingham.
Wilson and Clark are charged with negotiating a memorandum of understanding that resolves major deal points between the NBA and Cal Expo.

The idea is to lay the groundwork for a commercial development that would produce money to both build an arena and revamp the aging fairgrounds.

"If we are successful, we will have done something that will be good for the city and good for the state; that is our hope and purpose," Wilson said in a phone interview Friday. "We are obviously honored that Cal Expo reached out to us and engaged us to do that for them."