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L.A. King President BRUCE McNALL was formally charged yesterday with defrauding six banks of more than $236M over 10- years in a "long-awaited plea agreement with federal prosecutors, the culmination of a dizzying collapse that is virtually unprecedented in the sports business." The 4-count criminal information consists of two counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy and one count of wire fraud. According to his attorney, McNall plans to "formally plead guilty to all counts." The charges also allege for the first time that McNall and his execs in one deal "took advantage of Kings superstar WAYNE GRETZKY. According to the charges, McNall improperly pledged their horse "Honor Grades" to Union Bank as collateral for an $850,000 loan without telling Gretzky, representing to the bank that the horse was 100% owned by McNall's Summa Stables. McNall was expected as early as today to give up his "high-profile" title of president of the Kings, although he will continue to work for the team and draw a 6-figure salary through 2001 (Bates & Dillman, L.A. TIMES, 11/15). A conviction could bring up to 45 years in prison (AP/TORONTO STAR, 11/15).
BOB GOLD has been promoted to VP/Marketing and Communications at Prime Ticket Network (Prime)....Ride Snowboard Co. has promoted TIMOTHY POGUE to President from Exec VP and COO (Ride).
New WBC/IBF Heavyweight Champion George Foreman was on with David Letterman last night and on "Today" this morning. From "Late Show" -- On his immediate fight plans: "I need to fight someone I can surely whip." On how much money he has made in his career: "Oh, I just can't remember. I got so many kids that every time you blink they're taking more money out the door. And I got so many cousins, I wouldn't dare say how much I made." On Don King: "He's a terrible guy. He's mischievous. Diabolical. Are there any other names? But I love him. Boy, is he a bad guy" (CBS, 11/14). From "Today" -- On being middle-aged: "I'm just a standard-bearer for the next century." On some of his endorsement offers: "I like the idea of selling. ... I tell my kids, if you learn to sell, you'll never starve." On why he became so popular: "Most people have restaurants and they know when I get money that I'm coming" (NBC, 11/15).
A's owner Walter Haas Jr. and Blue Jays President & CEO Paul Beeston testified on behalf of DAVE STEWART on videotape Monday in the trial that accuses Stewart and TODD STOTTLEMYRE of battery on a police officer (ST. PETE TIMES, 11/15)....BROOKE SHIELDS on her first date with ANDRE AGASSI: "We went out to dinner, and we were sitting in a restaurant and having pasta. ... We weren't eating our food, and the waitress came by and said, 'Are you ladies enjoying your food'" ("Late Show," CBS, 11/14)....GABRIELA SABATINI appeared on ABC's "GMA" pushing her new autobiography and the book's companion "Gaby" doll (ABC, 11/15).