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A judge has ordered the release of files from Miller Thomson, the former law firm for the estate of Harold Ballard and Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd. (MLG) to two Ontario agencies that "want to unwind the recent takeover of the hockey franchise." But the agencies and the estate still need to decide what files "must be released" from the firm. MLG fired Miller Thomson in late '90 and the firm "resigned from the estate a few months later, after executors had rejected their advice. Stavro, executor of Ballard's estate is being accused by Ontario's Public Trustee of breaching the estate's fiduciary duties by selling himself a "key Gardens block." Miller Thomson had advised Stavro "not to proceed" with the special option to buy into MLG without court approval (Tony Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR, 10/13).
The TORONTO SUN reports that "the Raptors and other expansion groups were guest of the IHL two weeks ago." The meeting took place at The Palace in Auburn Hills, MI, and IHL spokesman Tim Bryant confirmed there was a Raptors representative present. This comes on the heels of yesterday's announcement that plans for an NBA facility in Toronto were scratched after Raptors President John Bitove saw the economic viability of adding a hockey franchise to the facility (Craig Daniels, TORONTO SUN, 10/13). FIREPUCK HITS THE ICE IN MINNESOTA The Firepuck made its debut last night during the IHL Atlanta-Minnesota game. The puck, with a silver stripe on the outside, yellow reflective material on the top and bottom and enhanced lighting from the TV, is meant to make it easier for fans to follow (Tim Harper, TORONTO STAR, 10/13)
FANS Inc., the St. Louis group heading up the effort to lure the Rams, "delivered a lucrative invitation" to the team yesterday "imploring them to move to a sparkling" $258M stadium with up to $90M in cash incentives. Rams President John Shaw declined comment after his 4 1/2 hour meeting with FANS, and no decision by the Rams "appears imminent" (Himmelberg & Mouchard, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/13). FANS head Thomas Eagleton: "We thought it was a good meeting. They asked very intelligent questions." Eagleton said they discussed the domed stadium project, the stadium lease, the proposed practice facility and the permanent seat license plan. Eagleton expects to hear back from the Rams soon: "They're going to make some comments to us both on the telephone and in writing over the next two or three weeks, and we'll be in touch back and forth" (Jim Thomas, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 10/13). This week's developments "are also likely to provoke discussion in NFL circles about the impact of a possible Rams move" (ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/13). COOKE'S COOKED GOOSE IS GOLDEN FOR BALTIMORE: Supporters of Baltimore's effort to land an NFL team say the initial rejection of the Redskins' proposed stadium in Laurel, MD -- 20 minutes from Baltimore -- "represents a significant timely boost for the city's 10-year drive to return to the league." Orioles Owner Peter Angelos: "It is better because it clears the air and eliminates the contention raised by the Redskins that the area cannot support two teams." Rams spokesperson Heidi Sinclair: "It makes that market more attractive" (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 10/13). PLAYING POLITICS? The Rams have made three separate contributions totaling $25,000 to CA Governor Pete Wilson's re- election campaign. Rams President John Shaw said that the team made the campaign contribution based on the advice of the team's political consultant: "I really have no comment other than to say we support a number of candidates from different political parties." But UC/Irvine political science professor Mark Petracca speculated that the Rams contribution indicated the team is interested in a state-financed stadium: "It may mean something after the election if Wilson wins and all of a sudden you see tax dollars shifting over their way." Orange County Supervisor William Steiner, a member of Save the Rams, said that the political contribution is a "sign that they want to stay and they want to be involved in California and our future" (Pasco & Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 10/12).