Watch CBS News

Sacramento Republic FC President Steps Down Days After Lead Investor Pulls Out Of MLS Expansion Deal

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — As Sacramento tries to pick up the pieces of its collapsed Major League Soccer deal, the club's president and CEO also announced he is stepping down Monday.

"I would say, it was time for me," Ben Gumpert said.

Gumpert said he will take on an advisory role with the team.

Billionaire Ron Burkle pulled out of the deal Friday and has not publicly explained why.

CBS13's Steve Large asked Gumpert how the MLS expansion plan unraveled.

"The perception was that the deal was done but reality was that there were some things left undone," Large said.

"I mean, clearly it's impossible to look back and say 'oh hey if we knew everything that we knew now,' or exactly how this was going to play out, but frankly that's not how it works -- that's not how life works," Gumpert said.

Mayor Darrell Steinberg would not say exactly why Burkle balked, noting the financing deal was a private transaction. Ron Burkle could not be reached for comment.

Steinberg did talk to him at length a day before the deal officially collapsed.

"It became pretty clear that there was one issue after another," Steinberg said.

The touted MLS stadium plans had become a symbol for more downtown Sacramento resurgence, and a railyards revival.

READ ALSO: Timeline Of Pro Soccer In Sacramento Leading Up To MLS Expansion Announcement

Swipe through renderings of the proposed stadium.

(credit: Sacramento Republic FC)
(credit: Sacramento Republic FC)
(credit: Sacramento Republic FC)
(credit: Sacramento Republic FC)
(credit: Sacramento Republic FC)


Large asked the mayor if the downtown investors were misled.

"If investors are wondering if it was...a good bet to invest in Sacramento? The answer is yes," Steinberg said.

Steinberg says he plans to look for a replacement investor for Burkle.

Burkle isn't the only billionaire to back out of financing Sacramento Republic in its quest for an MLS team. Before him, Meg Whitman had also agreed to invest, before she backed out.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.