Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Boots's buddies on the BOG

"Anschutz and Leipold are on Gary's executive committee," says one high-ranking NHL source. "These are guys who are at the power centre of the league, close to Gary, and supposed to be his best allies. And here they were lending Del Biaggio money, and not telling Gary, at a time when they were supposed to be reviewing his offer to become an owner.

"It stinks."
No surprises there, given what we've seen unfold the past few weeks.

You wonder, however, just how this revelation was made at the board of governors' meeting last week. Were Phil Anschutz and Craig Leipold in the room, flanking Bettman as he spoke sheepishly of their backdoor wheeling and dealing with Bankrupt Boots?

The tally is staggering frankly. There's a lawsuit with the Rangers, Ducks owner Henry Samueli hit with a $12-million SEC fine and suspended by the NHL, the Del Biaggio debacle, a ridiculous situation unfolding in Tampa Bay, the Maple Leafs making multiple plays for personnel under contract to other teams ... the list goes on and on.

And what a lot of it comes down to is an incredible lack of respect for the NHL and its commissioner, who's being shunted aside while the (mostly) moneyed men go about their business (often shadily).

If Bettman truly didn't know about Leipold and Anschutz's dealings, what does that say of his "power centre?" Has he any power at all?

Paul Kelly's going to have his way with this bunch.

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At 6:50 p.m., June 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a funny thing. During the lockout, I was barricaded firmly on the owner's side, basically buying into the notion that the players were just greedy and unjustified in their focus on monetary gain. However, not shortly after the lockout ended, I've completely shifted allegience. The NHL management group and the owners (as a collective) have completely lost my respect (with certain exceptions, of course).

The way the National Hockey League is run has become a huge joke. I've begun to understand why the NHL has been regarded as a 2nd rate league outside of Canada. Intentions, motivations, and biases of certain people are now coming to the surface and it's unfortunate for the general NHL fan.

At 7:10 p.m., June 24, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The league has always been run by charlatans, crooks and con men.

Bruce McNall was on the executive committee. So was Bill Wirtz.

This is nothing new.

At 12:32 a.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger Adam C said...

Anyone who ever takes the owners' side should set aside some time and watch or read Net Worth.

The current batch of owners may be the most honest in league history...

At 8:39 a.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger Big Picture Guy said...

I would resist drawing a straight line between AEG-Del Biaggio-Predators to KC. (btw, AEG operates but doesn't own the arena in KC)
How was that supposed to work? Was Del Biaggio a kind of Trojan Horse to subvert the David Freeman group in Nashville? Or was he supposed to wait until they failed? More likely, he was an ad hoc option, added in the panic among the owners over Jim Balsille's bid and how to respond to it.
Henry Samueli, I have some sympathy for him. Perjury is perjury but its a charge that prosecutors use to coerce and threaten (see Barry Bonds) when they don't have a strong case. Samueli was not the prime target in the backdating case, he wasn't indicted. Backdating is not a crime in itself, the crime is misleading investors about it, and Broadcom did disclose the information, but the government keeps changing the definition of disclosure.These prosecutors have all learned their tricks from the Eliot Spitzer book of bullying tactics and defendants cop a plea because the Feds are relentless and will spend any amount of taxpayer's money to get their way.
I don't know if OTPP has a scintilla of concern about ethics among their business partners but I can tell you that all these conflicts of interest (the loans) and self dealing would have the big US public pension plans looking for an exit real quick.

At 10:16 a.m., June 25, 2008, Anonymous WingInTO said...

James, I learned how to read a basic balance sheet back in high school. I guess we can't say the same about the NHL. This is dated 06/23, so I wonder what the one the NHL(and whoever else they enlist) checked on(or completely ignored) looks like. Kind of hard to miss two of the creditors there.

At 11:31 p.m., June 25, 2008, Blogger Marchantfan said...

That's the bankruptcy document, which makes it totally irrelevant to any discussion of how Bettman couldn't know about the other owners' involvement.


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