News of the pending sale of the Sacramento Kings to Chris Hansen's Seattle investment group hasn't been an easy pill for some California politicians to swallow. That includes former Sacramento City Councilmember Darrel Steinberg.
In a letter sent Tuesday to California Department of General Services director Fred Klass, Steinberg -- now California Senate President Pro Tem -- calls out Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer for his role in Hansen's group and asks for more information on the Redmond-based company's contracts within California.
"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," wrote Steinberg. Here's some of the letter:
I would appreciate your help—as the director of the department in charge of most state procurement—in obtaining some information that in light of these reports is certainly relevant to California taxpayers, particularly those in the Sacramento region.
- How many technology contracts and at what total cost to state taxpayers does Microsoft Corporation currently have with the State of California?
-In total dollars, how much has the State of California paid Microsoft Corporation for its products and services over the last 10 years?
- Can you send my office terms of contracts and representations made by Microsoft Corporation regarding their contracts with the State?
-To your knowledge, does any other state in the United States pay more annually to Microsoft Corporation for products and services than the State of California?
- What is Microsoft Corporation's record of performance with the State of California?
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, 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.
Steinberg, a former Sacramento City Council member, isn't the only politician trying to keep the Kings in California. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is forming a local ownership team to present a counter-offer for the Kings when the NBA reviews the sale this spring.
Do you think Steinberg is out of line to target Ballmer and Microsoft? Or is it fair game? Tell us in the comments section.