Names In The News
The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Albergotti & O'Connell cite a broker as saying that S.F.-based investment banker THOMAS WEISEL, who "bankrolled and owned LANCE ARMSTRONG's former cycling team, also managed assets" for former UCI President HEIN VERBRUGGEN. Sources said that Weisel "used his fortune and his connections in business to exert influence over many facets of the sport" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 1/17). In N.Y., Thompson & O'Keeffe report the lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act by former cyclist FLOYD LANDIS "raises disturbing questions about the links between Weisel ... and officials of USA Cycling" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 1/17).
HAPPY DAYS: Film director BRIAN DE PALMA and actor AL PACINO are "joining forces" for "Happy Valley," a feature about late Penn State football coach JOE PATERNO. Producer EDWARD PRESSMAN yesterday said that he has "optioned the film rights to 'Paterno,' the best-seller by sports journalist JOE POSNANSKI." RICK NICITA, who is "managing a select group of clients through his company RP Media, also will produce the project," with Skybridge Capital Managing Partner ANTHONY SCARAMUCCI serving as exec producer. The producers are in "preliminary discussions" with screenwriter DAVID MCKENNA about adapting the book for the screen (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 1/16).
AWARDS & HONORS: Toronto Sun baseball writer BOB ELLIOTT has been named as one of six new members to the Kingston & District Sports HOF (TORONTO SUN, 1/17)....The Babe Ruth Birthplace Foundation will present former NFLer O.J. BRIGANCE and his wife, CHANDA, with its Community Service Award (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/17)....Former MLB manager LOU PINIELLA will be among the '13 class of inductees to the Ted Williams Hitters HOF on Feb. 2 at Tropicana Field. He will be joined by former MLBers RYNE SANDBERG, DARRELL EVANS, SANDY ALOMAR, SANDY ALOMAR JR. and ROBERTO ALOMAR. Former MLBer JACK MORRIS also will be honored at the event, which is being held in partnership with Rays P DAVID PRICE and called Dinner with David and Friends (TAMPABAY.com, 1/16)....ESPN anchor NEIL EVERETT will host the 61st annual Oregon Sports Awards on Feb. 10 at Nike's Tiger Woods Center (PORTLANDTRIBUNE.com, 1/17).
CHARITY STRIPE: Seahawks QB RUSSELL WILSON on Tuesday visited DAVID PADILLA at Seattle Children's Hospital. Padilla is battling osteosarcoma, a rare bone cancer (THENEWSTRIBUNE.com, 1/16)....White Sox Special Assistant to the Chair DENNIS GILBERT said that the "In the Spirit of the Game" dinner held by the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation "raised between $300,000 and $400,000" (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/16).
NAMES: Capitals LW ALEX OVECHKIN will be a torchbearer for the '14 Sochi Olympics. He said that he is "playing for his country in the Games whether the NHL gives its blessing or not" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 1/16)....Cavaliers Owner DAN GILBERT is "buying a majority stake in Detroit's Greektown Casino Hotel." He said that the purchase is part of his company Rock Gaming's strategy "aimed at revitalizing downtowns" such as Detroit and Cleveland. Gilbert and his companies have "invested more than $1 billion" in Detroit over the last few years (Cleveland PLAIN DEALER, 1/17)....Former NFLer JOHN TAIT has sold his three-bedroom, loft-style condo in Chicago's Bucktown neighborhood for $635,000 (CHICAGOTRIBUNE.com, 1/17).
IN MEMORY: WNBA Lynx COO CONRAD SMITH died yesterday after a long battle with cancer. He served as T'Wolves VP/Corporate Sales before taking over the Lynx in November '08. Smith also worked for the former NHL Minnesota North Stars, Twins and former NASL Minnesota Strikers (STARTRIBUNE.com, 1/16).