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         Former L.A. Kings majority owner Bruce McNall pleaded guilty
    to four criminal counts stemming from a federal bank fraud
    investigation.  Charges included "creating phony financial
    statements for lenders as early as 1984, supplying fake coin
    inventories to secure loans, diverting millions from a Merrill
    Lynch coin fund and King ticket proceeds and even listing dead
    horses as collateral.  Allegations also include improperly
    pledging a horse he owned with [Wayne] Gretzky to a bank without
    telling the Kings superstar."  Although McNall faces a maximum of
    45 years, sources say his sentence will most likely be three to
    nine years.  As expected, McNall officially gave up his title as
    Kings president, but will serve as a consultant to the team.  His
    $650,000 salary will be trimmed to $487,500.  McNall "technically
    remains a minority owner in the club, although his 28% stake is
    now under the control of the trustee in his U.S. Bankruptcy Court
    case and is expected to be eventually sold" (Bates & Dillman,
    L.A. TIMES, 12/15).  In L.A., Helene Elliott writes, "We probably
    should have seen this coming.  We didn't want to look. And the
    NHL, before the Gary Bettman regime, was too busy to look because
    it was counting the money King merchandising brought in" (L.A.
    TIMES, 12/15).

    Print | Tags: Law and Politics, NHL

         Darryl Strawberry and his agent, Eric Goldschmidt, pleaded
    not guilty to charges of conspiracy and federal tax evasion
    yesterday.  Strawberry arrived at the courthouse "via limousine
    with a bodyguard and left in the same manner."  His case is
    schedule to be heard May 5 (Jennifer Frey, N.Y. TIMES, 12/15).
    NBC's Pete Williams reported that NBC has learned that "nine
    other current and former major league players are also under
    investigation."  Williams also cited sources close to the
    investigation who say that "federal agents gathered evidence at a
    baseball show about two years ago, by secretly tape recording
    players who asked to be payed in cash with no records to the IRS"
    ("Nightly News," NBC, 12/14).  Strawberry told reporters that the
    "real criminal here" is Meade Chasky, Strawberry's former card
    show agent who was granted immunity in exchange for testimony
    (Bill Madden, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/15).

    Print | Tags: Law and Politics, NBC
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