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RIDERS IN A STORM: 119-YEAR-OLD FRANCHISE NEARING THE END?
Published March 1, 1995
The Ottawa Rough Riders lost their most promising ownership candidate yesterday when AL-based businessman Elliot Maisel reconsidered a tentative deal to buy the club after looking at a league audit, according to this morning's OTTAWA CITIZEN. A CFL source told the paper Maisel backed out after and finding "the financial picture of the team is worse than Maisel and the league first imagined." The team, which owes about C$1M to "unsecured" creditors and C$500,000 to the league, has already spent another C$500,000 from funds earned through season ticket sales for next season. The team also has committed to C$500,000 in sponsorship deals for the '95 and '96 seasons. A meeting scheduled for this week between Maisel and CFL Commissioner Larry Smith has apparently been cancelled. While the deadline for the sale of the team was yesterday, the team "really has until March 9-10," when the CFL's Board of Governors meets in Saskatoon, Sask. Before the CFL meetings next week, The league "will likely" approach Chicago restauranteur Horn Chen and FL developer Norton Herrick. "If an owner can't be found by next week, it is likely the 119-year-old franchise will fold, or, at least, have operations suspended for the 1995 season" (Don Campbell, OTTAWA CITIZEN, 3/1).