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Local Business Leader Joins Arena Investor Group

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) - The investment group assembled to keep the Kings in Sacramento has added another investor.

At his weekly Mayoral press conference, Kevin Johnson announced that Mark Friedman, son of late attorney and developer Mort Friedman, had been invited to join the ranks of the arena investors composed of "whales" Vivek Ranadivé and Mark Mastrov.

Johnson emphasized Friedman's local ties and his family's involvement in helping to shape Sacramento as a major role in the group's decision to invite Mark to participate. Mort Friedman redeveloped Arden Fair Mall and brought the first Nordstrom store to the building.

"If we ever did anything different, we would have a local presence on the ownership team," said Johnson.

Raw: Mayor Johnson's Announcement

Friedman had been discussing the arena deal with Johnson and investors Mark Mastrov and Ron Burkle since January.

"It's a big coup for our community to have someone with his expertise," said Johnson.

Friedman talked about his love of Sacramento and the opportunities for the city's future economic development that could be spurred on by the new arena.

"As much as I like basketball, I love Sacramento. I grew up here, I raised my family here. I've watched the city come of age. I think we're on the verge of stepping out not to a national arena, but an international arena," said Friedman who has developed property in Sacramento and West Sacramento.

Raw: Friedman addresses the media

Today's announcement comes one day after Johnson revealed that billionaire Ron Burkle would not be investing in the arena or the team. NBA officials say Burkle's ownership of the company Relativity Sports, which manages NBA athletes, could present a conflict of interest since it could give an unfair advantage to players if Burkle owned part of the team.

Johnson was quick to point out that Burkle remains on the team, but his investment be in the plaza. "He's committed to Sacramento in terms of economic development."

Johnson denied questions that Burkle's departure had anything to do with Friedman joining the group.

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