Discussion in 'The Business of Hockey' started by danman27a, Jul 8, 2006.
If anyone knows any information on the Thrashers ownership fiasco, please post here.
There are a couple of threads on it on the Trade Rumor Board, focussing in if the Thrashers would be screwed if a team made an RFA offer sheet to Kari Lehtonnen.
Links to a couple of articles:
There's nasty fights within an ownership group when one side wants to buy out the other side, and then there's going to be this.
I see the NHL and NBA getting involved behind the scenes at some point.
Not necessarily. But if another team made a offer to Lehtonen, the Spirit group would have to get Belkin's permission to match OR make an emergency appeal to have the lower court ruling overturned.
Reading the snip from the article above, it seems like the judge is saying if the teams want a player, Belkin would have to initiate it. Once Belkin gives his go-ahead, then the teams can negotiate with that player.
If you're right and that came about, Belkin could use the ruling to be in control of that situation. But if he declined to match an offer and Lehtonen went to another team, it would hurt his case. Not in the strict legal sense, as he would have the right to make such a decision. But there are practicalities involved in every legal proceeding. If he easily let go of an important commodity (and it could definitely be argued that Lehtonen is such a commodity), his case for the future well-being of the franchise under his care as opposed to the defendants is compromised.
To be truthful, Belkin's lawyers have been the better of the two sides thus far. I hate saying that, but they have been. I don't believe they would let something like this slide by.
So, let me get this straight, there was/is an ownership group that owned the Hawks and Thrashers. One member, Belkin, complains about the state of the franchises, saying change is needed, the rest disagree. The rest try to buy out the one party, but this attempt may have been conducted in a manner contrary to the terms of the co-ownership agreement. So, Belkin is claiming, that under the terms of the co-ownership agreement, that he can force the rest of the co-owners to sell their shares to him?
Am I correct? Close?
You pretty much hit it on the head.
And as much as it pains me to say, Belkin and his counsul have been more pro-active and a bit smarter in this dispute thus far. But other than reading about rulings that have already been rendered, I have little or no legal accumen about what could possibly happen next. There are a few lawyers floating around these boards, hopefully they may chime in.
Ultimately, Belkin will have to have the approval of the NBA and the NHL to gain full control of the respective franchises. This may prove to be very difficult; I'm not sure how thrilled the NBA will be to "welcome" him back. And the NHL Board of Governors will surely be aware of his past actions and "commitment" to the Thrashers [unfortunately, sarcasm abounds there].
I've said it a couple times before; I really hope that I'm wrong and this will resolve itself by the end of summer. But I just get this feeling deep down in my gut that it won't, and this will be a very (VERY) long year.
I have a feeling Belkin will not be successful in trying to takeover the rest of Atlanta Spirit LLC. Prior to joining the Atlanta Spirit bid for the Hawks, Thrashers, and Philips Arena operating rights, he had tried and failed to purchase several NBA teams, including the Celtics and the Charlotte Bobcats (he was one of the groups trying to land the expansion franchise). He has no interest in owning the Thrashers, and as part of the deal that brought him into Atlanta Spirit, he was to be named Governor of the Hawks once the team was owned by the group. Him being removed as the Hawks Governor by David Stern probably torpedoed any chances of him taking over the Hawks being approved by the rest of the league. He irked the NHL early in Atlanta Spirit's ownership tenue for saying that if the lockout went into the 2005-2006 season, the league would use replacement players. He was fined $250,000 for that remark (makes the NBA fines Mark Cuban had racked up at the point seem minor.), and pretty much alienated the rest of the NHL owners with that remark.
If he is successful in taking over both the Hawks and Thrashers, I will no longer support the Thrashers. He would be a worse owner than Time Warner ever was. The entire management (and probably coaching staff) of both teams would probably fired (Hawks GM Billy Knight would be the first to go because of his refusal to shake Belkin's hand last summer after the court ruled in favor of the rest of the Atlanta Spirit ownership). I wouldn't be surprised if Hossa and/or Kovalchuk get traded to cut down costs. This would probably set in motion the eventual moving of the Thrashers out of town.
I have a solution to this ownership soap opera. The rest of the Atlanta Spirit ownership swaps the Hawks for Belkin's share of Atlanta Spirit and perhaps split the Philips Arenas operating rights as well (Belkin gets the revenue from Hawks games, Atlanta Spirit gets the revenue from Thrashers games, and all other events, they split the revenue).
This is like a nightmare. Belkin, in the effort to keep the other owners from diminishing the value of his franchises, is doing a better job of it himself.
I wish this jackass would realize that no one wants him as an owner and to just go away. He's slowly killing both franchises, and would most likely try to sell the Thrashers once he got control of them, as he doesn't care about hockey.
Atlanta already lost a beloved NHL franchise due to terrible ownership once. If it happens again, well...
Can someone give me the back story on why no one wants Belkin to be the owner?
He was seen by many in Atlanta as being cheap and wanting both the Thrashers and the Hawks run as cheaply as possible. All of this sprung up from the Joe Johnson trade which started this entire soap opera. While his original opinion on the trade seems to be pretty valid now in hindsight, the damage has been done to his reputation with regards to the fans in Atlanta. Even before all of this happened, he was probably the owner who went to the least amount of home games. He'd show up in Boston for a Hawks or Thrashers game (most of this was before Atlanta Spirit officially took ownership), but very rarely seen at Philips Arena. For the most part, the Atlanta-based members of the ownership group are the faces for the group. Rutherford Seydel, Beau Turner (son of former team owner Ted Turner) and the Gearons (Michael Sr., who was the Hawks GM from 77-79, was Hawks president from 77-89, and was the chairman of the Hawks board of directors until 2004, and Michael Jr., who brought his dad into the group not too long after the group took control of the Hawks and Thrashers) are the members of the ownership group fans are most likely to see at a game, with the Maryland based owners (Ed Peskowitz, Bruce Levenson, and Todd Foreman) going to games mainly on weekends.
Thank you. Quite the situation, hopefully it all works out alright.
That will certainly help in the short-term, but it still doesn't solve the dogfight over who's going to end up owning the two teams.
I'm not amped about the legal hoops that need jumping through by both sides, it's the kind of instability and/or off-ice distraction that no team needs. But it is what it is unfortunately, us fans will just have to hope it turns out well.
I'm just hoping that this four or five day restriction doesn't have a ripple effect; players and their agents obviously know of the situation, and it may give them pause to sign with Atlanta even though that restriction is lifted.
Guess we'll just have to wait and see.