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  • ANOTHER LAWSUIT AGAINST STEVE STAVRO'S BID FOR MLG

         MLG CEO Steve Stavro was handed "another setback" in his bid
    to hold onto the Maple Leafs and its arena, according to William
    Houston of the GLOBE & MAIL.  On Friday, an Ontario judge
    certified a lawsuit against Stavro and his acquisition company,
    MLG Ventures, as a class-action proceeding.  The decision means
    that MLG shareholder Gwen Maxwell, who brought suit against
    Stavro and MLG Ventures, will represent all Maple Leaf Gardens
    Ltd. stockholders who sold their shares to MLG Ventures, based on
    the company's public offering of April, 1994.  Among the
    complaints is that Stavro may have misrepresented the stock value
    of Maple Leaf Gardens Ltd.  Maxwell is seeking C$13.6M in damages
    on behalf of all former MLG Ltd. shareholders who sold their
    stock to MLG Ventures.  The Ontario Public Trustee also is suing
    Stavro to have his purchase of the MLG Ltd. shares belonging to
    the Harold Ballard estate, about 60% of the company's total
    stock, cancelled.  That case is scheduled to go to trial in
    September (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 4/29).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, Toronto Maple Leafs
  • IHL IN SAN ANTONIO STILL A POSSIBILITY FOR NEXT SEASON

         Prospective IHL owner Greg Toole "hasn't given up his dream"
    of putting a franchise in San Antonio for next season, according
    to Tim Griffin in yesterday's SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS.  Toole
    has reportedly met with every City Council member and has had
    "extensive" negotiations with Alamodome manager Mike Abington.
    Toole:  "The point where we would stop for this coming season is
    fast approaching.  But it's not here yet.  There could be a lot
    of shifting in the next 30 days."  Some City Council members,
    however, say that the city is taking a "cautious attitude"
    towards a new team -- due to the fact that the CHL Iguanas
    already play in the city (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS NEWS, 4/30).
         SHARKS KEEP BLADES -- FOR NOW:  The Sharks announced last
    week that they will maintain their arrangement with the IHL K.C.
    Blades for at least one more season.  According to Sharks' Dir of
    Hockey Ops Dean Lombardi, they have agreed to another one-year
    deal, but he also said the Sharks "will take a look" at the AHL
    as a "possible alternative" when the deal expires (Mike Weaver,
    SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 4/30).
    

    Print | Tags: AHL, CHL, Franchises, San Jose Sharks
  • MAY DAY DEADLINE MEANS "MAYDAY, MAYDAY!" FOR CRASHING JETS

         Talks to keep the Jets in Winnipeg "continued during the
    weekend but no one appeared especially optimistic a deal could be
    salvaged by midnight tonight -- the deadline given by Jets owners
    to complete an ownership transfer and arena deal," according to
    this morning's Toronto GLOBE & MAIL.  NHL Commissioner Gary
    Bettman arrived in Winnipeg over the weekend with a police escort
    after fans "responded angrily" to reports that a deal between
    Jets Owner Barry Shenkarow and the Manitoba Entertainment
    Complex, a local ownership group seeking majority interest in the
    team and a new arena, was "scuttled" due to league-imposed
    conditions.  That leaves it up to Shenkarow "to cut a last-minute
    deal with government and other private interests in an effort to
    gain financing for a new hockey arena."  Bettman met with
    Shenkarow, Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon, federal Human Resources
    Minister Lloyd Axworthy, Winnipeg Mayor Susan Thompson and local
    business leaders, after which officials "were pinning their
    hopes" on Axworthy's ability to convince the federal government
    to consider a C$30M contribution toward the arena and a C$16M
    operating loan for the team (David Roberts, Toronto GLOBE & MAIL,
    5/1).
         CAN IT BE DONE?  MEC Chair John Loewen:  "Everyone is
    feeling much better about the short- and medium-term future of
    the team -- it's the longer-term prospects that we are trying to
    deal with now" (CANADIAN PRESS, 5/1).
         BARRY, BARRY, HE'S OUR MAN:  If there is a deal, according
    to Scott Taylor and John Douglas of the WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, "it
    will be with Shenkarow's cooperation.  The ownership will not be
    changing; it will be expanding, with Shenkarow likely staying on
    as the club's governor to the NHL."  Government loans of C$44M --
     C$14M each from the province and the city and C$16M from Ottawa
    -- will reduce MEC's annual interest payments on the building
    from C$6M to about C$2.5M (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 5/1).  MEC's Bob
    Silver:  "The NHL wants to see leadership, someone who wants to
    play hockey. ... We need a player and Barry Shenkarow knows the
    hockey game at the corporate level better than anyone in
    Winnipeg" (John Douglas, WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/29).
         FAX FIGHT:  The NHL released a copy of the April 26 letter
    from NHL Senior VP & General Counsel Jeff Pash to the MEC, in
    response to "erroneous reports" that the NHL's conditions were
    new to the group.  The release notes that the conditions were
    first laid out in an April 13 meeting between Pash and the MEC
    (NHL).  In Winnipeg, Scott Taylor writes that Bettman was
    "ravaged" by Loewen and Thompson for trying to make sure that MEC
    has enough money to buy the team, build the arena and operate
    both for 10 years.  "There is still some question today as to
    whether the MEC's ownership group is capable of doing that and
    it's not Bettman's fault" (WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, 4/29).
         POINTS SOUTH, AND WEST?  Should the Jets move, the
    Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE reports United Healthcare Corp. Founder
    and former CEO Richard Burke emerged as the "first serious
    bidder" to bring the team to the Twin Cities.  Any new hockey
    owner in MN will have to negotiate a lease with T-Wolves Owner
    Glen Taylor and Ogden Corp., which manages the Target Center.
    Taylor, who said he has not aligned with any possible MN groups,
    was open to the idea of joining an NHL ownership group.  Other
    possible bidders:  A group led by former Nuggest President Tim
    Lieweke; the Naegele family, owners of a billboard advertising
    "empire"; and stockbroker Ed Villaume (Jay Weiner, Minneapolis
    STAR TRIBUNE, 4/29).  IHL Knights President Jay Adler denied
    reports that the Jets were headed to Atlanta, citing his
    exclusive lease with The Omni for '95-96.  According to Louis
    Mayeaux of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, Turner Broadcasting "would
    like an NHL team for Atlanta, but not before a new arena is built
    to replace the Omni" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 4/28).  ESPN's Linda
    Cohn reported that if the Jets move, "word is the league would
    like it to stay West.  Portland and Phoenix among the sites
    mentioned."  Cohn reported that Minnesota "may not have deep
    enough pockets to satisfy the NHL" ("SportsCenter," 4/28).
    

    Print | Tags: ESPN, Franchises, Minnesota Timberwolves, New York Jets, NHL, Walt Disney
  • PIRATES SALE SLOWED BY INTERNAL DIFFERENCES?; OTHER MLB NEWS

         The Pirates' economic woes and troubled sale are examined by
    Stephen Baker in the current issue of BUSINESS WEEK.  Sources
    close to the city government say the problem that the city and
    the team's current owners have had on agreeing on a buyer "grows
    from a flap" between Mayor Tom Murphy and PPG Industries Chair
    Vincent Sarni.  While Murphy has backed Adelphia Communications
    Chair John Rigas' $85M bid, Sarni and other Pirate owners have
    solicited bid from others, including Orlando's Norton Herrick.
    While PNC Bank, Carnegie Mellon Univ. and Mellon Bank are among
    those in the Pirates group backing local ownership, PPX and USX
    are open to outside bids.  One observer "thinks the best thing
    for the Pirates would be for Sarni to get the top job at W.R.
    Grace & Co., a post he's being considered for, and leave the
    baseball negotiations" (BUSINESS WEEK, 5/8 issue).
         A'S TO STAY AT COLISEUM:  The Oakland-Alameda County
    Coliseum Board of Directors "unanimously authorized" Coliseum
    President George Vukasin to sign an agreement to keep the A's in
    Oakland through 2004.  The deal is expected to be finalized early
    this week.  In the agreement, Stephen Schott and Kenneth Hofmann,
    who are negotiating to buy the team, agree to play at the
    Coliseum for nine years plus a three-year renewal option (Oakland
    Alameda-County Coliseum).
         UEBERROTH BID STILL ON:  Former MLB Commissioner Peter
    Ueberroth is "moving ahead" with efforts to buy the Angels,
    according to Tracy Ringolsby in Denver.  Ueberroth:  "We're
    working hard and diligently, but I don't want to establish a
    timetable that I might not be able to meet and would be counter-
    productive" (ROCKY MOUNTIAN NEWS, 4/30).
         NORTHERN VA GROUP STILL HOPEFUL:  William Colllins and his
    Virginia Baseball Club, Inc., said that he's "prepared to play
    the waiting game" in order to attract a team to Northern VA.
    Collins feels if a current team is going to move, it won't be
    until June or July.  Among the teams Collins cites as
    "potentially moveable":  Pirates, Expos and Mariners (Leonard
    Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 4/29).
         VIVA BEISBOL:  ESPN's Peter Gammons said the Padres' use of
    Fernando Valenzuela to attract Hispanic-American and Mexican fans
    is "an attempt to really find out once and for all if San Diego
    can make it" ("Baseball Tonight," 4/30).
    

    Print | Tags: LA Angels, Anaheim Sports, ESPN, Franchises, MLB, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners, Walt Disney
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