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City Council hiring experts to review Sodo arena deal
Seattle City Council member Tim Burgess said Monday he is in the process of hiring independent experts to review the proposal to build a new sports arena in the city.
It's premature, Burgess said, to reveal details about experts because a contract hasn't yet been finalized. But he said he expects an agreement soon. The hiring would be done through the Government Performance and Finance Committee he chairs. Burgess said City Council President Sally Clark has given the necessary approval.
"This is a very significant proposal and the council received it in May and we have to do our due diligence," he said.
The City Council would share information from its experts with the Metropolitan King County Council, Burgess said.
Several county council members have said they support the idea of hiring independent experts to augment the county's planned review process, which now relies on staff analysts and a volunteer panel of experts appointed by Council member Joe McDermott, chair of the budget committee.
The four Republicans on the nine-member county council wrote a letter last week complaining that they weren't consulted about the panel that McDermott, a Democrat, announced last month.
McDermott and Council Chair Larry Gossett wrote back, saying they regretted that not all council members were consulted about the creation of the review panel.
Pete von Reichbauer, a Republican council member and longtime Sonics fan, said a thorough vetting of the proposal does not mean local officials oppose the deal offered by hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen.
"If I'm going to buy a house I want an expert third party to examine it. I'm not going to rely on the seller" for all the information, von Reichbauer said.
"To his credit [Hansen] has made it clear he understands it's our job to ask questions and his to have answers," von Reichbauer said.
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