The owner of the Forum joined a longtime Inglewood resident in filing a lawsuit Friday challenging the constitutionality of special legislation passed solely for the Los Angeles Clippers to fast-track an environmental review of the team's proposed arena complex in Inglewood.
The Los Angeles Superior Court petition alleges that AB 987, which authorized the fast-tracking, violates the state constitution and that creating special rules just for the Clippers undermines the rights of Inglewood residents. The court action further alleges the law will cause significant harm to the environment and quality of life for the surrounding Inglewood community.
The Clippers are proposing an 18,000-seat arena, as well as three parking structures, a practice facility, retail space and other development on 28 acres in Inglewood, all near a residential neighborhood just blocks from the Forum and the new SoFi Stadium, where the Rams and Chargers will play.
In a statement, Forum owners MSG Forum LLC said the lawsuit is an extension of the community-wide opposition to the Clippers' arena.
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"Fast-tracking environmental review for this harmful project is not only damaging to Inglewood residents, it is also unconstitutional," the statement read. "The Clippers' own analysis shows the arena will be devastating for Inglewood and the entire region."
Chris Meany, the lead developer of the arena project, called the lawsuit meritless and "the latest desperate attempt in an all-out legal onslaught to slow the development of the proposed Clippers arena in Inglewood."
Madison Square Garden's "hubris in continuing to file such actions is exceeded only by its brazen and malicious attempts to make patently false statements and mischaracterize virtually every aspect of a project that will greatly benefit the citizens of Inglewood, who overwhelmingly support the arena," Meany said in a statement.
"We remain undeterred and will continue to process our application through the proper government channels in an open and transparent process, and are looking forward to opening the state-of-the-art arena in time for the 2024- 25 NBA season."
In addition to the Forum's owner, the lawsuit was filed by Saulo Eber Chan, a long-time Inglewood homeowner living adjacent to the proposed arena site.
"With respect to this project, AB 987 undermines the robust environmental protections that California law would ordinarily provide to the residents of Inglewood and neighboring communities," the lawsuit states. "If the Clippers' project proceeds in its current form, it will inflict severe traffic congestion, pollution and many other harms on Inglewood and its local residents."
The plaintiffs and Inglewood residents "should not suffer environmental impacts just so (the Clippers) can construct an arena more quickly and inexpensively," the lawsuit states.
The draft environmental impact report for the project prepared by Inglewood and the Clippers acknowledges it will create more than 40 significant, unavoidable environmental impacts on the surrounding area, including significant and unavoidable traffic impacts at 61 intersections in addition to neighborhood streets and nearby freeways, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs.