SBD/Issue 240/Franchises

Barrie Reportedly Fails To Buy Out Koules' Share Of Lightning

Barrie Accused Of
Misappropriating Funds
Lightning co-Owner Len Barrie has told NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman that he was "unable to put together a deal to buy out" co-Owner Oren Koules, according to an NHL source cited by David Shoalts of the GLOBE & MAIL. The league presented Koules and Barrie a chance to buy each other out after the two began to "disagree on team management issues." Meanwhile, a report by B.C.-based accounting firm Norgaard Neale Camden Ltd., the former auditor of Barrie's Bear Mountain Resort, has accused Barrie and "other senior members of the complex's management team of misappropriating funds." The report indicated that some of the resort's financial transactions involved at least $2.5M (all figures Canadian) that Barrie "used to pay for his part" of the Lightning. The report "raised questions" about more than $25.8M paid to Barrie or companies under his control going back at least two years by the partnership that owns Bear Mountain. Barrie "denied all of the charges last night," but Shoalts writes the matter "raises questions once again about the NHL's due diligence in investigating new owners." Barrie and Koules, who has "no involvement in Bear Mountain," were the "first two owners investigated last year after the NHL claimed it made its due diligence much tougher in the wake of the scandal that saw" former Predators investor William "Boots" Del Biaggio approved and then "depart in a hail of bankruptcy and criminal charges." NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly "declined to comment on the due diligence conducted" on Barrie (GLOBE & MAIL, 9/1).

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