SBJ/June 26 - July 2, 2000/Finance

Finance briefs

 Lightning owners clash

The current and former owners of the Tampa Bay Lightning may be dropping the gloves in a Tampa courtroom soon. Palace Sports and Entertainment, headed by Detroit billionaire Bill Davidson, has said former Lightning owner Art Williams owes the group as much as $5 million, charging that he wiped out the Ice Palace arena's bank account before selling the team in June 1999. Insurance magnate Williams, who owned the Lightning less than a year, previously sued the new owners, claiming he was stuck with about $3 million of bills. The parties hope to resolve the dispute before next season.

 Topps overcomes sports slide

The Topps Co. posted net sales up 70 percent for the first quarter of its fiscal year over last year despite a 28 percent decline in sales of its sports collectibles products. Company officials attributed the increase to the sale of confectionery products, adding that new online plans for the company's sports collectibles business are expected to be announced at the end of this month. For the quarter ended May 27, the company posted net sales of $144.3 million, up from $84.9 million last year, and net income of $29 million, up from $9.3 million.

 Gattison named in suit

Former NBA player Kenny Gattison was named in a lawsuit filed in Mecklenburg County (N.C.) Superior Court by a credit reporting company of which he was a board member and major shareholder. In its lawsuit, Credit Business Services Inc. alleged that Gattison breached his contract and fiduciary duties with the company and engaged in unfair and deceptive trade practices. Gattison, who played with Charlotte and Vancouver during his career, was unavailable for comment. His attorneys declined comment.

 NHL OKs new owners

The NHL board of governors unanimously approved the sale of the Colorado Avalanche to Stan Kroenke. The board also approved the ownership transfers of the New Jersey Devils to YankeeNets and the New York Islanders to Charles Wang and Sanjay Kumar.

 Wagenhals increases stake

Fred Wagenhals, CEO of motorsports merchandiser Action Performance Cos., has invested another $450,000 in the company, purchasing 50,000 shares of common stock at $8.99 a share on May 26, according to SEC filings. Wagenhals now owns 1.96 million shares of the company. Action Performance's stock closed at $6.44 a share on June 20.

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