The California Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected the Golden State Warriors’ appeal of a ruling ordering the team to pay Oakland and Alameda County nearly $50 million in debt leftover from 1996 renovations at the Oakland arena.

In denying a request to review the petition, the state Supreme Court issued another legal blow against the team in their dispute with the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, which is run jointly by the city and county.

After the construction was completed, the Warriors made annual payments toward the $140 million in bonds issued by the city and county to finance the renovations. The team’s contract to play at the arena, formerly known as Oracle, required the team to continue paying off the bonds, even if the contract was “terminated.”

When the team departed for Chase Center in San Francisco in 2019, attorneys for the Warriors argued they had not “terminated” the contract but exercised an option in the agreement to leave.

The matter headed to the courts. An arbitrator and a California Superior Court judge ruled in favor of the Coliseum Authority, concluding the Warriors must pay up. In August, a state appeals court panel reaffirmed that decision.

The Warriors then appealed to the state’s high court. The appeal was denied Wednesday, without comment.

“While we are disappointed in the Supreme Court’s decision to deny our petition, we will, as we’ve always indicated, pay the debt obligation in accordance with the ruling,” Warriors spokesman Raymond Ridder said Wednesday.

Last month, Coliseum Authority Executive Director Henry Gardner said the debt is currently about $47 million.

Oakland City Council President Rebecca Kaplan, who has called the Warriors ownership “deadbeat billionaires,” on Wednesday said it is time for them to pay what is owed to taxpayers.

“I’ve been saying this for years and the Warriors have been saying things that turned out to be wrong,” Kaplan said. “So sleazy for billionaires to try to stick their longterm fans with their debts. I’m so glad I pushed to fight this. Our taxpayers deserve to be protected.”

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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