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  • CHECKETTS TURNS UP THE HEAT ON RILEY TAMPERING CHARGES

         The Knicks have filed tampering charges against the Heat,
    who have been "courting" the recently departed Pat Riley for
    their head-coaching job for the past two weeks, according to
    Vincent Mallozzi of the N.Y. TIMES.  MSG President Dave Checketts
    said that the Heat "had not asked the Knicks for permission" to
    talk with Riley.  Riley still has one year left on his contract,
    and anyone wishing to contact him must have the Knicks'
    permission.  Checketts claims that Heat Owner Mickey Arison said
    his team has "prepared a significant package for Riley," and that
    reports also allude to the Heat "making Riley aware" of the
    offer.  Riley is said to be preparing his own suit case the
    Knicks, in which he will reportedly contend that changes in MSG's
    corporate structure "have altered the conditions under which he
    initially agreed to work."  Winning a "breach of contract suit"
    against the Knicks would allow him to coach elsewhere without
    permission or without his new team having to pay compensation to
    the Knicks.  The NBA's maximum fine for tampering is $1M (N.Y.
    TIMES, 6/30).  Checketts:  "This may be, I think it is, the most
    blatant example of tampering I have ever seen in twelve years in
    the NBA" (ESPN, 6/29).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, ESPN, Franchises, Madison Square Garden, Miami Heat, NBA, New York Knicks, Walt Disney
  • DEVILS EXECS MEET WITH NJ OFFICIALS; NASHVILLE REACTS

         Devils Owner John McMullen and President Lou Lamoriello met
    with NJSEA officials and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman yesterday
    in a "heavily guarded meeting" at McMullen's Secaucus, NJ office,
    according to this morning's Bergen RECORD.  After emerging from
    the meetings, both sides said they would meet again, but had
    little else to say (Fitzgerald, Hirsch & Dottino, Bergen RECORD,
    6/30).
         WANTED: A TEAM -- ANY TEAM:  Gaylord Entertainment President
    Dick Evans, who is heading Nashville's push to land an NHL
    franchise, said yesterday "a Devils move to Tennessee in time for
    next season looks unlikely because the team is tied up in court,"
    according to this morning's RECORD.  Evans, in his first news
    conference before national press, said the possibility of a
    lawsuit made things "unpredictable."  The RECORD reports that
    Evans said "the intense publicity about Nashville's courtship of
    the Devils could position the city to win an NHL expansion
    franchise in 1997" (Bergen RECORD, 6/30).  Evans said that
    Gaylord may not want full ownership of an NHL team:  "Clearly, we
    are going to have to take the lead.  But do we want to own 100
    percent of it?  Not necessarily" (TENNESSEAN, 6/30).
         A HOLE IN THE CASE?  The Devils, who claim their lease
    extension was violated by actions taken by the NJSEA during the
    lockout, reportedly met with Target Center GM Dana Warg in
    October '93, according to Larry Brooks of the N.Y. POST.  Brooks
    reports that Warg was invited to the Meadowlands for a meeting
    shortly after the North Stars left for Dallas.  But "once
    informed the team had an enforceable lease through 2002," Warg
    ended talks with the Devils (N.Y. POST, 6/30).
         SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY?  Evans expressed "bitterness toward
    New Jersey" during his press conference, and had the the
    following exchange with a RECORD reporter: "Why don't you go back
    to New Jersey?  I'm tired of the Grand Ole Opry taking all these
    shots. ... Why the hell would anyone ever want to go to New
    Jersey?  It's a hellhole.  I lived in New York for 10 years and I
    fought to keep from going through the tunnel to that hellhole"
    (Bergen RECORD, 6/30).  For more on the NHL's appeal in
    Nashville,.
    

    Print | Tags: Dallas Stars, Franchises, New Jersey Devils, NHL, Southwest Sports Group, YankeeNets
  • NEW FACES, SAME STORY: PIRATES HAVE PROBLEM WITH BUYER

         Liberty Media's offer of $30M in cash to a new group seeking
    the Pirates could end up hurting the group's effort.  Liberty,
    parent of PrimeSports KBL, is not seeking an equity stake in the
    team, but rather would count the funds as an advance towards
    securing the team's broadcast rights.  MLB owners are said to be
    opposed to more teams being bought by "media conglomerates," and
    they also view pre-selling of broadcast rights as debt, not
    equity.  The new group is led by CA newspaper heir Kevin
    McClatchy.  Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy still wants to "salvage"
    the bid of John Rigas, which is "in limbo because it doesn't
    contain enough cash to service a heavy debt load" (PITTSBURGH
    POST-GAZETTE, 6/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Cablevision, Franchises, MLB, New York Liberty, Pittsburgh Pirates
  • RAIDERS FACE NEW PROBLEM -- U.S. TAX COURT

         Raiders Owner Al Davis is scheduled to appear at a U.S. Tax
    Court hearing on July 10 to appeal a deficiency notice claiming
    that the Raiders failed to pay federal income taxes "at the
    proper time" on $10M the team received in '87 from Irwindale, CA
    -- a deposit on promises to build a stadium. Team attorney Barrie
    Engal said the government is contending that what was
    characterized by Irwindale and the Raiders as a "loan" to the
    team should have been reported as taxable income on the next
    corporate return, but that the team "was two years late in
    reporting it as income and paying taxes on it."  Xavier
    Hermosillo, a negotiator of the '87 agreement between Irwindale
    and the Raiders:  "The issue is very clear.  It was either a
    payment, a gift or a loan.  Davis reported it as a loan.  Was it
    ever paid back?  The answer is no.  It is income" (Kenneth Reich,
    L.A. TIMES, 6/30).
         NINERS PROTEST:  In San Jose, Nancy Gay reports that the
    49ers will protest the Raiders move to Oakland "every way they
    can" during an NFL special meeting on July 14.  49ers President
    Carmen Policy said that he is going to "play devil's advocate" as
    the league's owners consider the details of the lease agreement
    that Davis has signed.  Policy:  "I'm not sure it will (easily)
    go through -- unless the membership can be convinced that Davis
    is committed to Oakland for the duration of the 16-year lease
    agreement with the Oakland Coliseum" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS,
    6/30).
         DONE DEAL:  Malcolm Glazer's purchase of the Bucs for $192M
    is "expected to be closed" today at NationsBank's HQ in
    Charlotte.  It is the largest franchise sale in the history of
    sports (Pat Yasinskas, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 6/30).
    

    Print | Tags: Bank of America, Franchises, NFL, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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