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MLS expansion franchise Chivas USA has introduced “ChivaGirls,” a community ambassador program comprised of Latina women who speak both Spanish and English. Candidates must be between the ages of 21 and 28, weigh between 110 and 135 pounds, and be 5’4” or taller. The 15-member team will be selected by a celebrity panel on December 11 at the Conga Room nightclub in L.A. Interested parties can download an application at the Chivas USA Web site (Chivas USA).
Loria Wins Arbitration Case Brought
By Former Expos Minority Partners
A three-judge arbitration panel in N.Y. yesterday unanimously ruled against 14 former Expos limited partners in their hearing against former limited partner Jeffrey Loria, according to Jeff Blair of the Toronto GLOBE & MAIL. As a result, the partners “will drop their bid for an injunction aimed at preventing the Expos’ move to Washington.” While the group can still pursue its federal RICO lawsuit, which was put on hold and sent to arbitration, attorney Jeffrey Kessler said, “It’s very unlikely we will proceed with our ... case. These findings bind us, and the arbitrators have ruled there is no fraud or breach of fiduciary duties.” The panel ruled that the partnership was “a marriage built on hope, not realism,” adding, “Neither side can be blamed for the divorce that ensued.” The judgment also said the limited partners’ “sense of betrayal, even if justified, does not amount to fraud” by Loria, who is now the Marlins’ Managing General Partner. The ruling stated the “claimants find it objectionable that Loria was able to acquire 92[%] of the club for only $35-40[M], but claimants have themselves to blame. The record establishes that claimants would not have met the capital calls under any scenario, there was nothing material undisclosed, and claimants knew the gist of what they say was concealed” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/16).
DETAILS: In addition to Loria, the RICO suit names Marlins President David Samson and MLB Commissioner Bud Selig, accusing the trio and others “of violating federal racketeering laws, mail fraud and wire fraud in an attempt to eliminate the Expos.” The limited partners said that their 76% share of the Expos became a 6-7% stake in the Marlins after Loria acquired the team (TORONTO STAR, 11/16).
REAX: MLB Senior VP & General Counsel Thomas Ostertag: “It has been this office’s position since the commencement of the litigation and arbitration that this was merely a partnership dispute, and that attempts to include this office and the Commissioner were particularly malicious and frivolous” (Ft. Lauderdale SUN-SENTINEL, 11/16). Loria’s attorney, Brad Ruskin, called the action “a case about people entering a contract and deciding afterward that they didn’t like it” (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 11/16).
THE NEXT STEP: In DC, Svrluga & Heath report the ruling “allows MLB’s owners to formally vote on the relocation” of the Expos during a meeting in Chicago on Thursday. Expos President Tony Tavares, on the suit: “In its worst-case scenario, it could have prevented the move. But I don’t think anybody believed that was going to happen. For us, we just keep moving forward” (WASHINGTON POST, 11/16).
Colts’ ’03 Revenue Falls $12.6M
Below League Median
The NFL told the city of Indianapolis that the city’s taxpayers “could face paying $12.6[M] or more every year” to bring the Colts’ ‘03 revenues up to the NFL median as required by the team’s lease, according to a front-page piece by John Fritze of the INDIANAPOLIS STAR. The lease runs through 2013, but an escape clause “could be activated in 2007 unless the city is willing” to make the payments. For ’02, the difference between the Colts’ revenue and the NFL median was $10.6M. A new contract now under negotiation would “make the disparity irrelevant,” and would “include a new stadium and an expanded convention center” which would cost about $750M. Capital Investment Board President Fred Glass, who is negotiating with the team on behalf of the city, said, “My hope is that we could deal with these payments as part of an overall new agreement with the team.” Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson “hopes a contract could be negotiated by next month” (INDIANAPOLIS STAR, 11/16).
The AP’s Jon Sarche reports former Broncos Owner Edgar Kaiser, who won a lawsuit seeking the right to buy a 10% stake in the team from Owner Pat Bowlen for $15M, is “fighting a proposal that would allow” Bowlen to buy the share back within two years. Kaiser’s attorneys during a court hearing Monday argued that the buy-back proposal “would unfairly penalize [Kaiser] because he wouldn’t be guaranteed fair market value for the stake when Bowlen buys it back.” The provision would give Bowlen the right to buy the stake back for $20M plus 8% annual interest in two years. U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch plans to rule before the end of the year (AP, 11/16).
RAIDERS: In S.F., Eric Young notes the PSLs the Raiders sold upon moving back to Oakland begin expiring after the ’05 season. Sources said that “several season ticket options are under discussion, including scrapping PSLs and using a different season ticket program.” Raiders CEO Amy Trask declined comment on the discussions, but said any season ticket offering “will take into account the fans who stepped forward and originally purchased these (PSLs).” Young writes that under a “worst-case scenario in which none of the PSL revenue is replaced,” debt for Network Associates Coliseum would be above $158M for Oakland and Alameda County in ‘09 (S.F. BUSINESS TIMES, 11/12 issue).
OWNERS: Cowboys Owner Jerry Jones, on head coach Bill Parcells calling the team’s on-field performance “stupid”: “He was taking it on the chin for himself as well as the entire team, and when you’re structured the way we are with the Cowboys, I’m very involved ... and I don’t want him taking it all on the chin. He shouldn’t” (“SportsCenter,” ESPN, 11/15)....SI’s Peter King joked that the Falcons “set an NFL record every home game: Most fans, advertisers, hangers-on, pals-of-Arthur Blank flooding the sidelines, pre-game” (SI.com, 11/15).