SBD/9/Franchises

MCMULLEN PROVING TO BE QUITE A DEVIL TO NJ OFFICIALS

     The Devils "spurned a sweetened lease" from the NJSEA on
Wednesday because "it was unsatisfactory," according to Devils
owner John McMullen.  Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES reports
that McMullen would neither elaborate on what was included in the
rejected lease, nor did he sound "prepared to negotiate" (N.Y.
TIMES, 6/9).  Meanwhile, NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman yesterday
said that offering the team a chance to run Brendan Byrne Arena
"has been discussed."  Whitman said if the NJSEA decides to
privatize the facility, McMullen would have to take part in the
bidding process.  McMullen told the Bergen RECORD that the state
doesn't have to match Nashville's offer, "but they've got to
approach it" (AP/Minneapolis STAR-TRIBUNE, 6/9).
     MIDDLESEX DEVILS?  Another group is reportedly interested in
purchasing the Devils and possibly moving them to a new arena in
Middlesex County -- south of the Meadowlands.  Sandomir reports a
group led by CoreStates Bank Chair George Zoffinger is interested
in buying the team, selling a portion of it to the public and
building a new arena in New Brunswick (N.Y. TIMES, 6/9).
     DEVILISH DETAILS:  The NJSEA has until Monday to reply to
the lawsuit filed by the Bergen RECORD "that demands the leases
and financial records of the Devils" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/9)....In
Toronto, Bob McKenzie reports that "league sources say they
believe" that the NJSEA and McMullen are moving "towards
negotiating a long-term deal to keep the club in the Meadowlands"
(TORONTO STAR, 6/9).
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