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NFL FACES LAWSUIT FROM ANOTHER FORMER PATRIOTS OWNER
Published November 17, 1994
Former Patriots owner Victor Kiam filed a $450M lawsuit yesterday against the NFL, "saying it forced him to sell his team by denying his right to move it to Florida." The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, states the NFL and its teams violated antitrust laws when they kept the Pats "hostage" in Foxboro, MA. Named as defendants in the were the NFL and all of its teams except the Rams, Raiders, 49ers, Saints and Jaguars. Kiam: "But for the antitrust violation, I would today own a highly profitable professional football team with a current value of more than $200 million, even with the current NFL restrictions on ownership. With the blocking of the moves, I was forced to sell a financial ailing Foxboro situation for about $103 million, an overall loss." Kiam sold the team in '92 to James Orthwein, who in turn sold the team to Robert Kraft this year. The suit was filed for Kiam by attorney Joseph Alioto, the former San Francisco mayor who won a $51M award for another former Patriots owner, Billy Sullivan, by convincing a jury that Sullivan would not have had to sell the team to Kiam if the league had allowed him to sell public stock. That verdict was overturned in September by a federal appeals court (Larry Neumeister, AP/BOSTON HERALD, 11/17). During his tenure as Pats owner, Kiam said he had offers from groups in Memphis and Jacksonville for more than $100M, but that his agreement with the NFL "prevented him from doing so" (Will McDonough, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/17). According to the suit, the league rewarded the owners of the Jaguars a with franchise "only after they agreed to stop negotiating with Kiam about buying and moving the Patriots" (Colin Miner, N.Y. POST, 11/17). The suit also alleges that Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke told several people, including MD's governor, that he and the NFL would never permit a team in Baltimore to compete for fans with the Redskins. Baltimore is one of the cities listed as interested in being home to the Pats (AP/HERALD, 11/17).