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Originally published April 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM | Page modified April 23, 2008 at 12:32 AM

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Schultz files suit against Sonics owners; another e-mail disclosed

Howard Schultz filed a lawsuit today in federal court to rescind his July 2006 sale of the Sonics to the Oklahoma City-based group led by...

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Howard Schultz filed a lawsuit today in federal court to rescind his July 2006 sale of the Sonics to the Oklahoma City-based group led by Clay Bennett, saying that Bennett lied to him and that e-mails prove it.

Schultz's lawsuit discloses a new e-mail, written two days before the sale, in which Bennett tells his prospective ownership group that he could simply sell the team in a "sweet flip" if an arena deal was reached here and they were forced to stay in Seattle.

As a result, the suit claims that the Oklahoma City group "never intended to own a team that would continue playing in Seattle and that Mr. Bennett lied."

Previous e-mails, already publicly disclosed, were included in the suit to show that the Oklahoma City buyers were intent on owning an NBA team in Oklahoma City and not Seattle.

The suit, filed by attorney Richard Yarmuth, is a 12-page complaint for "relief arising out of fraud and misrepresentation." It asks that the court deprive the Oklahoma City group "the fruits of its deception."

Neither Schultz nor Yarmuth would comment on the suit, filed late today in U.S. District Court.

Pearse Edwards, a spokesman for Gov. Christine Gregoire, said she had spoken with Schultz by phone in the past week and was generally supportive of his lawsuit.

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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