MD Gov. William Schaefer heads to L.A. for an "economic
development trip" this weekend during which he is expected to
meet with Rams officials. Schaefer has made a Baltimore NFL
franchise "a top priority" for the remainder of his term. Rams
spokesperson Heidi Sinclair said a "courtesy meeting" between
Schaefer and Rams president John Shaw "appears" likely to take
place. Orioles owner Peter Angelos is also expected to be in
L.A. this week. (Jon Morgan, Baltimore SUN, 9/13). In a related
piece, Ken Rosenthal calls Angelos "the Napoleon of baseball
owners, exiled to Elba" and reports he has made the NFL franchise
his "new diversion" (Ken Rosenthal, Baltimore SUN, 9/13).
SOUR GRAPES? Rosenthal responds to the announcement that
the Buccaneers are not for sale: "Who are these people kidding?
Of course, the Bucs are for sale. They're just trying to dupe
their fans into believing otherwise, so that maybe more of them
will come to games" (Baltimore SUN, 9/13). But in Tampa this
morning, Joe Henderson counters that the Bucs "were never for
sale" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 9/13).
Grocery magnate Steve Stavro has decided not to appeal an
Ontario court injunction "blocking his takeover" of Maple Leaf
Gardens Ltd., "but he does plan to fight the civil suit filed
against him by the Public Trustee of Ontario." The Public
Trustee is suing to "nullify" Stavro's purchase of the 60%
interest in MLG owned by the Harold Ballard estate. The Public
Trustee, which oversees charities and trusts, "has charged that
Stavro breached his fiduciary duty to the Ballard estate, which
is responsible for seven charities, by using his position" as
executor of the Ballard estate to buy MLG shares "below their
true market value." Stavro attorney Brian Bellmore did not rule
out the possibility of an out-of-court settlement at some point,
but said, for now, the "appropriate way to deal with this" is by
going to trial. One MLG shareholder, Red Wings VP Jim Devellano,
said Stavro should "take the high road" and return the shares to
the Ballard estate, to avoid the court battle. Bellmore
estimates that it will take about a year for the case to be
heard, "after which there could be appeals" (William Houston,
Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/13).
BALLARD ESTATE UPDATE: The Ballard estate has paid the
National Bank more than C$3M to "settle a claim on a loan
guarantee" by Harold Ballard. The estate used proceeds from the
May '94 sale of 60% interest in MLG to settle the claim. The
estate collected about $70M from the sale but the Trustee's
challenge could throw the payment and other debts settlement in
doubt (Tony Van Alphen, TORONTO STAR, 9/13).
LABATT WATCH: John Labatt Ltd. holds its annual
shareholders meeting today. JLL is mentioned as a possible buyer
of MLG Ltd. (Toronto GLOBE & MAIL, 9/12).