SACRAMENTO, CA - The push to put the arena deal to a public vote may be falling apart.
Paul Olson and Tab Berg who lead the STOP petition, announced Friday they would be breaking ties with the so called "mystery group" who funds the signature gathering.
In part one of the fall-out, the group cites unreported funding of the petition drive. The Fair and Political Practices Committee is currently looking into unreported funding, after a complaint was issued by arena supporters asking for an investigation into unreported payments to workers gathering signatures to put the arena spending plan to a public vote.
In a statement released by Tab Berg and Paul Olson Friday, Olson said, "We took this project in good faith, and have followed every law. We have always expected that those hiring us would comply fully with the law as well - or take responsibility for any mistakes they made."
Also Friday, new information surfaced that the money to fund the anti-arena signature gathering has been traced back to Loeb and Loeb, a prominent Los Angeles law firm which represents former Sacramento Kings owners the Maloof Family. News10 has learned the law firm contributed $80,000 for the drive against the arena.
The Maloofs have denied their family's involvement.
"[We] traced the wire transfer to a Los Angeles law firm Loeb & Loeb," Olson said. "We have cut ties and canceled the agreement, and are confident the FPPC will fully exonerate us as well as our colleague Tab Berg."
"I cannot in good conscience continue under these circumstances and will cooperate with any official investigation," Berg said.
Berg went on to say he fully supports the STOP petition, and if there is effort to reorganize and ensure compliance with all state and local rules, he would be honored to continue to support an effort to put the arena subsidy on the ballot.
In the meantime, arena supporters said the ball is back in their court.
"It's a good day for us!" Crown Downtown Mike Tavares said.
Tavares is asking those who signed the petition to rescind their support.
"People, if they feel like they've been misled or feel like they've supported something that they don't want to, they can go to the DowntownArena.org website, fill out the petition withdrawal form and they can remove their names from the petition," Taveres explained. "I think that is something they can feel empowered to do right away."