Friday, June 06, 2008

Nashville group speaks

"Here’s the bottom line for the citizens of Nashville and fans of the Predators: regardless of how many lawsuits are filed against Mr. Del Biaggio, regardless of the amounts of the claims, regardless of the details of the allegations, Mr. Del Biaggio’s problems are personal. Mr. Del Biaggio is a minority owner. His minority ownership stake and its final disposition will not impact operation of the club. It is my hope and anticipation that the club will be even stronger once this saga reaches its logical conclusion and Mr. Del Biaggio is no longer associated with the club."
"These boots are made for walking, and that's just what they'll do ... one of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you."

Thus ends the tenure of Mr. Boots as an NHL owner.

Freeman had welcomed his new investor with open arms last August, saying "we want to tap into his contacts and his experience."

Now? "Obviously, I cannot and will not comment on Mr. Del Biaggio’s personal situation."

Then? "If the opportunity ever presents itself in the future, where through NHL expansion he happens to get presented with an opportunity, then we will buy him out and shake hands and wish him the very best of luck wherever else he might go," Freeman said.

Best of luck, Boots.

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11 Comments:

At 10:25 PM, June 06, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who wrote Freeman's statement?
Bettman?

 
At 9:08 AM, June 07, 2008, Blogger Bryon said...

Phew... lucky for the NHL that they didn't get involved with a shady character like Jim Balsillie. i mean, just imagine how embarrassing that would have been.

Good job, Bettman.

 
At 12:40 PM, June 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was Bruce McNall busy?

 
At 9:47 PM, June 07, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

this whole thing with Balsillie might get the ball rolling of getting rid of bettman.

if Balsillie has support around the league by other owners and gary is blocking this, it might have the owners thinking where have they been the past 5+ of bettman's reign of destruction.

 
At 9:44 AM, June 08, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

Phew... lucky for the NHL that they didn't get involved with a shady character like Jim Balsillie.

You mean like a guy that got caught being DIRECTLY involved in the backdating of options in his company which required a restating of $250 million of earnings, was compelled to pay back the company the money that he acquired as a result of the backdating, was required to pay $10 million to his company to defray the expenses of the investigation and whose shenanigans resulted in a number of his employees being required to pay the company back options money and get their tax returns re-assessed? (all of which is thoroughly documented in the public record as having been admitted by the Great Canadian Hockey Fan himself, James, in case you are worried about libel)

That kind of "character"?

 
At 2:28 PM, June 08, 2008, Anonymous Nael M. said...

For a moment, I thought Gerald's sarcasm detector was broken and he was talking about Del Biaggio. Then I found this article. I'm starting to sense a double standard here.

 
At 2:44 PM, June 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

I think that's a wee bit different than allegedly defrauding banks of nearly $60-million.

The courts may agree.

 
At 4:02 PM, June 08, 2008, Anonymous Gerald said...

James, it may be "different" (whatever you mean by that), but it is not anywhere close to $60 million. That is the sum of his liabilities, not the amount he has been sued for.

To be frank, that is a pretty shoddy statement on your part.

As to whether it is better, worse or "different", one can make a pretty good argument that options backdating is taking money out of the hands of the corporation, and thus its shareholders. The amount involved in that regard was potentially more than the comparatively smaller amounts that Del Biaggio is alleged to have done in a far less artful manner.

 
At 4:07 PM, June 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

Right — $60-million in personal debt, and we're up to $17 or $18-million on the fraud claims.

I stand corrected.

 
At 5:34 PM, June 08, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

The last thing I want to do is comment well out of my depth, so I'll defer to someone like Eric Reguly here.

"The admission was an embarrassment for RIM and its top executive, all the more since Mr. Balsillie is a Harvard MBA, a chartered accountant and once had a career at Ernst & Young. He should have known better than to allow the company to award in-the-money options — options above market prices — to employees, and not have them appear on the financial statements as a compensation expense. As far as corporate governance boo-boos go, this one was a beaut."

Note that this was written before the SEC investigation, which I don't believe we've seen the results of.

Again, if there are accountants and lawyers that want to debate this kind of stuff here, have at it. (Keep the insults directed at your host to a minimum.)

Boots deserves his day in court, but I think it's relatively safe to say his boo-boos have proven pretty costly. Being $60-million in the hole and likely soon to be under criminal investigation makes him a worse ownership candidate than Balsillie.

Is that really disputable?

 
At 9:15 PM, June 08, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

I think Gerald's point is that "worse" is a relative term and a not-very objective measure of either man's suitability for joining the NHL ownership circle.

Frankly, I think they're both perfectly suited for it.

 

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