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Mission Bay Alliance sues UCSF over Warriors' stadium

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The Mission Bay Alliance has officially taken its grievances over the Warriors' planned $1 billion Mission Bay arena to court, filing a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court on Thursday.

Warriors' co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are doing everything they can to finalize the franchise's move to San Francisco.
Warriors' co-owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber are doing everything they can to finalize the franchise's move to San Francisco.
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The Mission Bay Alliance, a wealthy, secret group opposing the construction of the Warriors' planned stadium in Mission Bay, filed a lawsuit in the Superior Court of Alameda County on Thursday in an attempt to block a pivotal agreement signed in October between the University, the Warriors, and the City of San Francisco.

The group alleges that the university's memorandum of understanding with the Warriors, that set aside a $10M cap to effectively manage traffic, visitors, and transit around the arena (among other components of the deal), was illegally signed and would pose potentially grave health dangers to Mission Bay residents.

"The Mission Bay Alliance felt compelled to protect the vitality of one of the country's most distinguished and innovative institutions of Medicine and Life Sciences," Dr. William Rutter, a Mission Bay Alliance member who had helped create the UCSF Campus, said in a statement.

Represented by the esteemed attorney David Boies and his law firm Boies, Schiller & Flexner, the Mission Bay Alliance also charges that the agreement between UCSF and the franchise violates state law because Chancellor Hawgood lacked authority to sign -- or even negotiate -- the deal without the UC Board of Regents' approval.

"I believe the Chancellor overstepped his authority here," claimed Richard Snyder, a board member of the Mission Bay Alliance and a retired professor at UC Hastings School of Law, in the Alliance's press release announcing the lawsuit. "It is my understanding that Chancellor Hawgood cannot gift valuable property rights belonging to the University of California, and certainly not without the Regents' approval."

Salesforce -- whose CEO, Marc Benioff, is one of UCSF's largest benefactors and opposes the Mission Bay Alliance -- officially sold the Warriors the land for the arena in October. The franchise has thus far scored clear-cut consent from city agencies on multiple aspects of the arena, including on planning, design, and the Environmental Impact Report last month.

The proposed 18,064-seat arena is part of the larger planned development on a twelve-acre plot of land that would include two six-to-eleven-story office buildings, retail shops and eateries, and a plaza in the style of Union Square. The Warriors hope to begin construction on the stadium next year. The Mission Bay Alliance's lawsuit, however, might extend that timeline.

Follow Sam Sorkin on Twitter @samsorkin23

For more on this story, check out our storystream about the Golden State Warriors' San Francisco arena project.