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LEAFS DENY CHARGES OF LIMITING TV REVENUE TO HELP OWNER
Published February 16, 1996
Maple Leafs President Cliff Fletcher responded to reports that MLG Ltd. "passed" on as much as C$70M in added TV revenue, thus enabling Owner Steve Stavro to purchase the company more easily. According to yesterday's FINANCIAL POST, Fletcher called the claims "an unadulterated crock." The issue of TV revenue is central to the case of the Ontario Attorney General and Office of the Public Trustee, who have challenged Stavro's control of MLG. According to court documents which surfaced in recent newspaper accounts, the Leafs "did not pursue significant money by reopening a clause in its broadcast contract with Molson Breweries." According to Fletcher, while there were legal opinions that said the contracts could be reopened, there were as many that said they couldn't. Fletcher cited the fact the team hired IMG's Barry Frank to negotiate the deal -- whom Fletcher considers the best in the business -- and said, "For anyone to suggest now that we didn't max out every nickel, I can assure you we did." Fletcher also denied the claim that they kept out competition, namely Labatt. Fletcher: "I can tell you this much, our alternatives were very limited" (Steve Simmons, FINANCIAL POST, 2/15).