Politician makes thinly veiled threat at Microsoft for Ballmer involvement in NBA relocation

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is part of a team hoping to move the Sacramento Kings to Seattle.

For a team as bad as the NBA's Sacramento Kings, there sure are a lot of people in California who don't want to see them leave – just apparently not enough to keep game attendance very high.

Following news that the Kings will almost certainly be sold and relocated to Seattle, things are getting heated in California. Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, is part of a team that has proposed buying a majority interest the Kings for $341 million, and one California state senator is none to pleased at his involvement.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg wrote a letter to Fred Klass, director of the California Department of General Services, questioning why the head of a company with significant ties to California would buy and move a team to Seattle. Part of Steinberg's argument revolves around the fact that the move would cost the state jobs, something he says Ballmer shouldn't be a part of.

"If [the potential move is] true," Steinberg wrote, "I am troubled that a company and a CEO that has for so long enjoyed a prosperous and beneficial working relationship with the State of California and its taxpayers would blatantly engage in activities which are clearly and measurably detrimental to our State's job and revenue base – not to mention use profits earned through business with our State to appropriate a California-based asset."

Steinberg's letter goes on to ask Klass for information regarding how much money the city of Sacramento and state of California have paid to Microsoft for various contracts.

While he admits he has no direct involvement in determining the state's contracts, Steinberg concludes his letter by implying he will fight to keep the Kings in Sacramento.

"As a state legislator, I am well aware that I have no direct role in the day-to-day management of the State's technology procurement processes," he wrote, "but I cannot stand idly by while a prominent out-of-state company that has significantly profited from business with the State of California actively attempts to acquire and remove one of my State and my region's leading private assets."

The full letter can be read at USA Today, one of the media outlets Steinberg distributed the letter to in addition to Klass.

Source: USA Today | Image via Microsoft

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