ISLES WAR GETS UGLY; GULOTTA CALLS TEAM "PIGS AT THE TROUGH"
Nassau County Exec Thomas Gulotta called the owners of
the Islanders "pigs at the trough," before NY State Supreme
Court Justice Joseph Burton issued a "temporary restraining
order barring the Islanders from playing home games outside
the [Nassau] Coliseum," according to Thomas Frank of
NEWSDAY. Following a 6 1/2 hour meeting with team officials
yesterday, Gulotta called the Islanders lawsuit "nothing
more than a ruse" aimed at forcing the county and arena to
give the franchise more revenue from its lease. Gulotta:
"They're pointing a gun at the head of the taxpayers of this
county for their own financial benefit and gain." Isles
attorney John Zuccotti said that the team would "obey any
court order," adding: "We don't believe any judge would make
us play in an unsafe arena" (NEWSDAY, 9/18).
DISPUTE GROWING UGLY: Gulotta said that "99%" of
yesterday's discussions with the Isles dealt with ways they
could "obtain a bigger share of the financial pie," and not
safety conditions at the arena. Judge Burton scheduled a
hearing on the matter for next Wednesday, two days before
the Isles pre-season opener (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18). But Isles
President David Seldin said yesterday's meeting was not
solely about money: "That just wasn't the case. Safety was
a significant issue in the discussion" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/18).
Flyers Chair Ed Snider, who divested himself from SMG last
December, "declined to comment specifically" on the
Islanders situation, but said that the Islanders playing
home games in the Spectrum while the Flyers played at the
First Union Center would be "a little odd." First Union
Comlex President & CEO Peter Luukko, who called the
situation "bizarre," said that "if the league calls on us,
we'll cooperate" (Rob Parent, ESPN.COM, 9/18).