OKUBO SPEAKS, SORT OF: LIGHTNING OWNER ANSWERS MEDIA VIA FAX
For the first time, Lightning Owner Takashi Okubo
responded to questions from the Tampa Bay media about the
team, its financial state and the sale process. The ST.
PETE TIMES and the TAMPA TRIBUNE submitted questions for
Okubo to the Lightning in late March and early April,
respectively, which were forwarded to him in Japan. Okubo's
responses were released by the Lighting yesterday.
YOU WANT ANSWERS? Okubo, asked about the financial
state of the Lightning: "The Lightning is losing money, but
I'll continue to support the team until it is sold" (Tom
Jones, ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 4/30). Okubo, who has never
been to Tampa Bay or seen an NHL game in person, on his
absentee ownership philosophy: "In Japan, owners commit
their money, then appoint managers to supervise their
financial holdings. I have been told that American owners
do not operate in such a manner. I suppose it is simply a
difference in our two cultures." On recent articles that
included allegations that Okubo is a "gangster": "From what
I am told, no one has ever come forward to personally make
such an accusation. It's easy to say 'people' or 'they'
have made accusations. The people that my company and I
conduct business with know there is no truth to those
nameless and faceless accusations" (TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/30).
CT SUITOR: Team attorney Stephen Wayne said that a
potential suitor from CT recently inquired about purchasing
the Lightning "but was told in strong terms that the team
could not be relocated from the Ice Palace." The suitor's
interest "quickly ended" (Ira Kaufman, TAMPA TRIBUNE, 4/30).