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Dennis Kelly, an attorney representing the Browns against the city of Cleveland, said the team's financial records are "irrelevant" to the lawsuit over the stadium lease and sought to have a judge stop the city's request to make them public. According to the Akron BEACON JOURNAL, Kelly argued the "real question" is over Owner Art Modell's future, not the team's fiscal health to date. Frederick Nance, who represents the city: "The Browns have said they would suffer ruinous financial harm if they were forced to continue to play here. We are entitled to test the veracity of those claims" (Akron BEACON JOURNAL, 12/22).
Ice Dogs Owner Fred Comrie is expected to finalize an agreement this week to sell the team to TV producer Barry Kemp for $5M. According to the ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, Kemp plans to take an "entertainer's approach" to hockey, much like with Disney's Mighty Ducks. Kemp, who said better-than-expected revenue from the syndication of "Coach" prompted him to buy the team, will move the Ice Dogs from the L.A. Sports Arena to a revamped Long Beach Arena next season. Kemp he plans to use on- ice and outdoor pre-game entertainment to bring in more fans. He hopes to have an average attendance of 7,000. Kemp is also a minority partner with the Suns (Barbara Kingsley, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER, 12/22).
One potential investor says a group led by several St. Louis businessmen is in final negotiations to buy the Cardinals, according to the ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH. The group includes Southwest Bank Chair Andrew Baur, Hunter Engineering President Stephen Brauer, and William DeWitt, Jr. of Cincinnati, whose father once owned the St. Louis Browns and then the Cincinnati Reds. DeWitt owned 15% of the Reds until '68, was a partner in the Orioles, and is now a part owner in the Rangers. Baur said they are "close to a deal" and that the team would "absolutely" stay in St. Louis (O'Neil & Hummel, ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 12/22).