How many cases do we have for ownership of the Coyotes? Three? You’d better think again.
There are actually four ownership cases being worked on.
One from PSE. Another from the NHL. And, let’s not forget Ice Edge.
And the most important case; that of Judge Baum.
Yes, the case of Judge Baum. The case that has been in the works since the NHL decided to raise his legal eyebrow, and decided to use him as a stepping stone. The case that won’t be intimidated by any amount of head nodding or shaking of Commissioner Bettman. Or, any other high priced lawyer the NHL can throw at the front of the court. The case the NHL has presented is tainted, and Judge Baum has now officially thrown his own hat into the ring.
TSN would call that the ‘turning point’. The point when the legal scales tipped in favor of Jim Balsillie and PSE, away from, well, let’s call them the group that the NHL has brought in, because, come on people, we all know there has been a parade of ideas presented to the court to fool this court, and sorry Ice Edge, you are one of them. Vilified or not vilified, you are in questionable company at a questionable time.
I make a pretty bold statement, but, hey, isn’t that what I have done from the outset? Some things cannot be explained, except to say that sometimes, hunches (some call it something else depending on who you are) combined with lots of facts, paint a true picture. Let’s leave it at that, and move on here.
Remember Judge Baum saying, ‘have a chair ready for Jim Balsillie if he decides he’d like to attend’. I cannot recall which ruling this was at this stage but the metaphor of the waiting chair, urged by the judge, sticks in my mind. ‘Have that chair waiting fellas. Make him feel welcome, won’t you?’
Let’s start by considering the differences between Balsillie and the NHL.
Let’s start with the NHL.
From the outset, the NHL argument was one of league stability. It was suggested that you must maintain control as a league, because according to Gary Bettman, the ‘bankers’ who build the arenas will not build them if you are ready to pack up and go away. Now, who these ‘bankers are is very interesting. And said many times, it’s them isn’t it? But the question still remains, who is ‘them’? And, we also believe that had we known who the bankers were (that is, who holds the Jobing.com bonds?), then it might help tie the collusion issue together with the notion that Jerry Moyes was victim of a squeeze play. The article on the squeeze play is pivotal, as it raised the ire of the ‘friends of Glendale, as evidenced by a very quick visit to this site by all three interested parties – a land developer, the NHL, and the City of Glendale in short order. Yep, it struck a nerve all right! Jerry Moyes and what they did to him became crystal clear. The jig was up, and it was just a question on following through to see what would happen next.
The NHL also argued the fans would be hurt. While we found it difficult to believe the Commissioner was truly concerned for the fans, that is all we had. We expected his argument and that of the league to stay consistent. We all know it didn’t.
The NHL pulled Jerry Reinsdorf out of the hat to become the ‘white knight’ of Glendale. It was too late.
We had already found the connection of the City of Glendale and the Reinsdorf family, namely Michael Reinsdorf from an innocent little visit to the site from Vieste, LLC, the partnering firm to Michael Reinsdorf’s, International Facilities Group (IFG). That triggered the bigger hunt.
It set the stage for a full blown investigation into the connections of Michael Reinsdorf and IFG to the City of Glendale.
Notes were taken as to IFG’s involvement with the construction of the Jobing.com arena, and other interests and favour it held with the City of Glendale. Conveniently and not surprising, the IFG website that housed these notes has since been revamped, and some of the information extracted is harder if not impossible to locate.
But, there was enough evidence to suggest the Reinsdorf family had an unfair advantage, and others were getting suspicious as well, including the U.S. bankruptcy trustee.
As a result, questions were raised as to unfair advantage in the bidding process, and the favor of the lease negotiations with the City of Glendale came into play. Jerry Moyes accused Jerry Reinsdorf and the City of Glendale and others as colluding, but this was met with objection from the Reinsdorf group.
It was to no avail. The jig was up before it was started. The Reinsdorf Group saw the writing on the wall. Their family advantage with the City of Glendale called, they at first hinted to the court they were not going to waste time and money on this, and they folded their bid shortly thereafter.
Probably interested more in damage control than anything at this point, we still can not count the Reinsdorf family out, as the NHL bid has a one year out clause, and promise to sell the team to whomever they please outside of court. Rumour has it Reinsdorf is waiting in the wings, ready to move the team to another NHL approved center.
So, here we have it. Lots have gone on with the NHL in this case. They have now filed their own bid in competition with the only other so called stay home bid of Ice Edge.
This would either show a lack of confidence in Ice Edge and their chances, or be a bigger reflection on the hidden agenda that really is not hidden at all. That is, that the NHL plans were to relocate this franchise, within five years (the Reinsdorf bid), or within one year (the NHL bid). Ice Edge, who we believe was brought in to quell the U.S. bankruptcy trustee’s worry of collusion and unfair bidding, stands to gain favour with other land and tax opportunities with the City of Glendale, MSD Capital and others. No, they have lots more to gain from the relationships with the big boys, including the ever convenient owner of Beacon Sports (Alan Leventhal) , brought in to ‘assess’ Jobing.com arena by Michael Reinsdorf.
Hockey is not necessarily what they (Ice Edge/Research Edge) are in this game for. The advertising and the show doesn’t hurt. Again, the NHL coming in to compete against them only helps support the ‘not a chance’ argument that they can accomplish what Reinsdorf could not – any conceivable concessions with Glendale.
More important than the facts of the NHL’s involvment and lack of consistency in argument is the arrogance to the court of Judge Baum.
The NHL has threatened appeal. They have turned a previously approved owner into a character issue, and are using this to make any question as to why the Board of Governors voted against him conveniently ‘unassailable’. The big word used by the big attorney Goldfein in support of his expertise in antitrust actions.
Is judge Baum buying it? Not a chance.
No, the judge sees these tactics for what they are.
Baum was quick to point out to the NHL that PSE has the NHL Constitution, as a hint to say, ‘who are you trying to kid here?’
He wants to get a hold of the depositions in full to scope them for all they are worth. The other trees killed in other filings are quickly becoming unimportant. What’s at the heart of this case now, is how can a judge get enough probable cause to call the NHL and it’s tactics nothing more than just that – tactics.
Is Judge Baum buying the character assasination of Jim Balsillie? Not a chance. He only needs to get enough information to back himself up in the decision that is pending.
Does Baum think the 4.3 article is subject meerly to the interpretation of a commissioner with way too much leeway? Again, not in a million years. As Baum pointed out, how come it (4.3) wasn’t removed?
The depositions are going to be scoped all right. A case is being built. The case of Judge Baum. The case for a precedent.
In court, Baum had said to the attorneys that the NHL will call for an immediate stay. What was he getting at?
He wanted to know if the PSE group was ready for what was coming. He also wanted to ensure that the man sitting in the courtroom that didn’t take his jacket off, the man who didn’t go for lunch, the man who stands to gain this hockey franchise was truly committed. The man, Mr. Jim Balsille.
The man at the bench has to know that the only consistent party to this bankruptcy, the man with true character will back him up and not make his decision a farce. Is that man committed? We know the answer.
Is the judge becoming committed to doing his part to make a ruling that may define sport? That is becoming more quickly apparent as time goes on, and the proceedings paint that picture.
It’s all systems go.
Judge Baum is building the case where an appeal will be unlikely to succeed. An airtight argument. For Jim Balsillie. For Jerry Moyes and his right to walk away with something. For justice.
The fourth case in this court is the most important, and the most compelling.
A fellow old schooler let’s not forget. He doesn’t want to see another taken advantage of.
So NHL, it’s time to get that chair ready.