Warriors arena opponents’ law, PR firms exit on eve of lawsuit decision

By R

As a decision nears on a critical lawsuit delaying construction of the Golden State Warriors’ planned San Francisco arena, opponents of the project have lost their high-powered legal and public relations teams.

High-profile law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP in April exited the Mission Bay Alliance’s cases against the Warriors and the University of California, San Francisco, and now the group’s strategic and PR consultants, Sam Singer‘s Singer & Associates, is out of the lineup.

“We quit,” Singer said, adding that the decision earlier this month was due to “strategic differences.”

The move comes only days — perhaps hours — before San Francisco Superior Court Judge Garrett Wong is expected to decide the Mission Bay Alliance’s suit against various San Francisco city government agencies and boards over the environmental review process for the $1 billion, privately funded, 18,000-seat arena.

The alliance is a loose coalition of UCSF benefactors — including Chiron Corp. founder Bill Rutter and former UCSF administrator Bruce Spaulding — current and former faculty and nurses at the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay. Yet many members of the group haven’t gone public with their support and the group’s agenda, direction and motives haven’t always been clear.

The alliance has threatened over the past year to continue to sue to force the Warriors to delay and potentially move the arena project from a vacant lot on Third Street, across from UCSF. The long-range plan for the site should be controlled by UCSF, they argue, to accommodate for future growth of its decade-old Mission Bay campus, though UCSF has no plans for the property.

The alliance also is suing UCSF in a separate suit in Alameda County Superior Court. The alliance claims that UCSF Chancellor Sam Hawgood wasn’t authorized to negotiate a traffic mitigation agreement with the Warriors and city officials. That case — centering on traffic jams that could occur around Warriors games, especially events that overlap with San Francisco Giants games at nearby AT&T Park — probably won’t to be decided for months. That decision, however, isn’t likely to have an impact on the Warriors’ construction schedule…

Since April, the Mission Bay Alliance’s lead counsel has been Browne George Ross LLP, which has an office in San Francisco…(more)

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