SBD/September 25, 2012/Franchises

Grizzlies' Lease Transfer Approved By County Despite Debate Over Pera's Financials

RJP Group's ownership of the Grizzlies still awaits approval by the NBA BOG
The Shelby County (Tenn.) Commission yesterday voted "to approve transfer" of the FedExForum lease with HOOPS LP to RJP Group, the entity led by prospective Grizzlies Owner Robert Pera, "although several commissioners protested the lack of financial disclosures" from RJP Group, according to Moore, Morgan, Tillery & Veazy of the Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL. County Commissioner Walter Bailey asked, “Has anybody really delved into the financial stability and solvency of the new owners?” Commissioner Terry Roland added, “I don’t know how I can vote on this, not knowing the financials of the people I’m voting on.” While some commissioners "wanted to defer the issue for two weeks, others thought the commission was simply out of its element." Commissioner Steve Basar said, “The NBA has vetted them, the minority owners in town have vetted them and quite frankly that’s good enough for me.” Commissioner Wyatt Bunker: “These people have plenty of money to foot the bill on this thing. Deferring it would be obstructionist.” The resolution “required the commissioners to change the name on the contract but not the conditions of the city-county agreement with current team owner Michael Heisley’s HOOPS.” The Memphis and Shelby County Sports Authority later yesterday "unanimously approved the transfer." Pera is “awaiting approval from the NBA.” The league’s BOG meets Oct. 25, although “a vote on Pera’s bid could be taken by email before then” (Memphis COMMERCIAL APPEAL, 9/25).
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