Bennett testimony ends in Sonics trial

Jun 18, 2008 - 8:06 PM SEATTLE (Ticker) -- Seattle SuperSonics co-owner Clay Bennett concluded his testimony Wednesday as the federal trial over the club's lease at KeyArena entered its third day.

During his two-day testimony in which he was on the stand for more than six hours, Bennett admitted he made mistakes in dealing with the city of Seattle after he bought the team in 2006.

"We bought this team with grand visions of success," he said. "Did we do everything right, and did we understand everything there was to understand? Certainly not."

On Tuesday, Bennett testified that he was a "man possessed" and would do everything possible in order to keep the Sonics in Seattle.

At the trial, the city is seeking to hold the owners to the remaining two years of the team's KeyArena lease. Lawyers for the city obtained e-mails that show Bennett and the other owners may not have been honest about their plans to keep the Sonics in Seattle.

Bennett, a business tycoon, is attempting to move the Sonics to his hometown of Oklahoma City. Bennett has said the Sonics are losing money at KeyArena, which was renovated in 1994.

Seattle attorney Paul Lawrence also returned to questioning Bennett about the 12-month "good faith best efforts" stipulation in the sales agreement.

Lawrence continually introduced evidence to make a point that Bennett was unwilling to make a significant investment in keeping a $500 million renovation project.

"We made a $100 million committment," said Bennett, who also suggested during testimony that he misunderstood the region's political climate.

Bennett also testified that he wasn't willing to commit to the things that advisers told him would be necessary to win government support to keep the Sonics in Seattle.

Sonics interim president and CEO Danny Barth will be on the stand later Wednesday.

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