SBD/December 11, 2013/Media

Attorneys Claim Astros Will Not Put RSN's Interest Ahead Of Team, Want Interim Trustee

Crane will update the court on his efforts for a new CSN Houston business plan
Attorneys for a group of Comcast subsidiaries said the Astros are “unable to put the interests of Comcast SportsNet Houston before those of the baseball team and that a federal bankruptcy court should move as quickly as possible to rule on a motion that would appoint an interim trustee to oversee the network as it is reorganized under Chapter 11 protection,” according to David Barron of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. The statement filed Monday, three days before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Marvin Isgur will hold a hearing to update the status of CSN Houston, also said that the Astros “have seriously damaged CSN Houston’s interests by filing a separate lawsuit against Comcast, NBC Universal and former Astros owner Drayton McLane.” Tomorrow’s hearing before Isgur is to update the court on Astros Owner Jim Crane’s “efforts to arrange a new business plan for the financially troubled network that gives it a chance for profitability.” Isgur on Oct. 29 gave Crane six weeks to “arrange such a plan, and his order expires Thursday morning.” The lawsuit accuses Comcast and McLane of “engaging in fraud by setting carriage rates" for the RSN in '10 that were "unreasonably high and not informing Crane of that fact before he bought the team" from McLane for $615M -- including $326M for the Astros’ 46% stake in the RSN. Comcast claims filing that lawsuit “call(s) into question, if not contradict(s), the Astros’ commitment to investigate potential opportunities and negotiate in good faith with third parties to develop a workable business plan” for the network. The lawsuit does not specify damages, but Crane said during a Nov. 22 news conference that "damages resulting from the alleged fraud could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars” (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 12/11).
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