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GQ CHRONICLES ROLLER COASTER RISE AND FALL OF BRUCE MCNALL
Published June 14, 1995
The plight of former L.A. Kings Owner BRUCE MCNALL is featured by Kevin Brooks in the June issue of GQ. McNall, whose employees "semi-facetiously" called "God," has pleaded guilty to bank fraud and conspiracy, and admitted that he had "tricked banks and other investors" out of almost $250M. Cook reports McNall "had a ten-year party with other people's money," but, "until now, he has been winning the fight to save his reputation." As a young coin entrepreneur, McNall had a net worth of almost $60,000 at the age of 16. But from Gretzky's arrival in L.A. until last year, McNall "was constantly juggling hundreds of millions of dollars in loans, infinitely more than he was worth, to keep the party going." Cook writes that there was "little distinction between corporate and personal spending; they were inextricably, illegally, entwined." McNall Sports & Entertainment (MS&E) VP Controller Joanna Orehek: "None of us knew exactly what was real. It didn't matter as long as the next big loan kept the bills paid. In the meantime, you cheat a little." When one employee finally confronted McNall on possible bank fraud, McNall "swore the fraud was about to stop" as one more deal -- selling the Kings to Sony -- would work everything out. But by the end of '92, MS&E owed more than $200M, and by May '94 McNall was bankrupt. McNall will probably serve no more than five years, and "he is sorry, but not morose." Orehek: "Nobody ever wanted to say no to Bruce and hurt his feelings. But mostly it was golden handcuffs. It was greed" (GQ, 6/95 issue).