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Volume 24 No. 155

People and Pop Culture

NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE's total assets topped $554.49M in ‘05, according to court documents released yesterday. His total income in ‘04 was $9.09M. The financial information was included in approximately 1,500 pages of a divorce case that was made public following a multiyear legal battle between the Charlotte Observer and France, who wanted to keep the divorce under seal. The case went all the way to the North Carolina Supreme Court, which yesterday mandated the file be opened. In addition to revealing France’s income in '04 and total assets in '05, it detailed property and assets owned in '07, including ownership of 10 homes valued at $21.73M; eight cars valued at $418,427; three airplanes valued at $58.3M; an 84-foot yacht valued at $5.2M; $259M in investments; and $120M in ISC stock. A '05 financial statement said, “Brian is likely to inherit substantial wealth from his parents, which, as of the date hereof, may be in the hundreds of millions of dollars and could exceed $1 billion.” France married his wife, MEGAN, divorced, remarried her and divorced again between ‘01 and ‘08. The pair went to court over an alimony and child support dispute. France’s ‘04 income and ‘05 net worth were recorded as part of a prenuptial agreement with his wife. France took over NASCAR in ‘03 from his father, BILL FRANCE, JR., who died in ‘07. His father was included on Forbes’ list of billionaires. His mother, BETTY JANE, is still alive (Tripp Mickle, Staff Writer). In Charlotte, Alexander & Off in a front-page piece report the unsealed documents “provide a rare glimpse into how much money the privately held racing organization has generated for the France family.” Details of NASCAR’s internal finances “have been scarce for decades.” The Wheeler Co. Chair & former SMI President & CEO HUMPY WHEELER said, “No one has ever known what it’s worth" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 5/9).

ESPN promoted VP/Marketing AARON TAYLOR to Senior VP/Marketing, replacing CAROL KRUSE, whose contract was not renewed. An ESPN spokesperson said, "In contemplating a renewed commitment to ESPN, Carol decided to pursue other business opportunities." Taylor will be responsible for developing and managing all aspects of the ESPN brand, including domestic TV, digital, radio and print media assets. Taylor most recently managed the development of marketing strategies behind ESPN's "MNF" and other NFL-related programming, as well as ESPN’s coverage of the NBA, MLB, soccer, golf and tennis (THE DAILY).

EXECS: The Browns named Seahawks and MLS Sounders Dir of Fan Development KEVIN GRIFFIN VP/Fan Experience & Marketing (Browns)....The Eagles "did not renew the contract" of Dir of Pro Personnel LOUIS RIDDICK (, 5/7)....The 49ers promoted Pro Personnel Scout QUENTUS CUMBY to Assistant Dir of Pro Personnel (49ers)....The T'Wolves "fired five scouts," including Int'l Scouting Dir of Player Personnel PETE PHILO, regional scouts J.T. PRADA, CURTIS CRAWFORD and STEVE GORDON, and special-assignment scout WILL CONROY (, 5/8)....USA Luge named CLAIRE DELNEGRO interim CEO. The NGB "continues to search for a full-time CEO" (AP, 5/8)....The Univ. of Michigan promoted Dir of Football Operations BOB LOPEZ to Associate AD/Football and named Northwestern Univ. Dir of Football Operations NOLAN JONES to the same position (DETROIT NEWS, 5/9).

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Utah State Univ. AD SCOTT BARNES was named Chair of the '14-15 NCAA Men's Basketball Committee. He has served on the committee for the last three years (SALT LAKE TRIBUNE, 5/9). Barnes will replace Wake Forest Univ. AD RON WELLMAN, who will hold the position for the '13-14 season (, 5/8).

COURT OF PUBLIC OPINION: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that 68% of Americans support Wizards C JASON COLLINS' decision to come out, while 23% are opposed. The percentage of positive responses is "higher among younger and better-educated respondents." The only part of the public with "lukewarm or negative reactions to Collins' decision are those who identified themselves as 'very conservative' politically," and those who "identified themselves as gay marriage opponents." The poll was conducted from May 1-5, among 1,008 adults (WASHINGTON POST, 5/9). Collins will be "in Boston for Pride Week," and will march in the city's Pride Parade on June 8 (BOSTON GLOBE, 5/9).

CHARITY STRIPE: Golfers RORY MCILROY, RICKIE FOWLER and GRAEME MCDOWELL yesterday made 11-year-old SLOAN AUBREY's birthday "a lot more special." Sloan's 20 year-old brother, KYLER, who suffers from cerebral palsy, had the idea to "record video on his iPad of the players wishing Sloan a happy birthday." All three players as they finished their practice rounds for The Players Championship "smiled into the iPad camera and wished Sloan a happy birthday" (, 5/8)....Redskins QB ROBERT GRIFFIN III yesterday at a luncheon for the American Cancer Society "raised $33,000 in a matter of minutes, more than half of the $60,000 tallied during the auction portion of the fundraiser." A man from Texas "paid $15,000 for a pair of pink cleats" worn by Griffin last season (AP, 5/8).

NAMES: An L.A. Superior Court Judge yesterday ruled former USC football player ARMOND ARMSTEAD's lawsuit against the school "could move forward." Armstead "alleged that USC team doctors gave him painkillers that caused him to have a heart attack that effectively ended his college career and affected his professional football aspirations" (, 5/8)....Lions RB REGGIE BUSH’s fiancée, LILIT AVAGYAN, had the “couple’s first child, an 8-pound, 9-ounce girl” (, 5/8)….Nationals hitting coach RICK ECKSTEIN’s wife, CAROLINE, yesterday “gave birth to a baby girl," ISABEL LORING ECKSTEIN (, 5/8)….Rays 1B JAMES LONEY and his wife, NADIA, bought a 6,000-square-foot home for $1.75M in San Diego's Bridlewood Country Estates community (, 5/8).