I swear someone goes into our treasury and keeps stealing our hard earned money or was that the Wings shelling out 3 million a year for Val Filppula. Damn with how things go to a crawl this time of year…..I had to come up with something for this week’s Top 5.
The worst owners scandals…….(At Least In My Opinion)
5. New York Rangers — Madison Square Garden (Charles Dolan). Dolan singlehandedly thumbs his nose at establishment every chance he gets. Just the fact that Bettman would go as far to threaten to take his ownership away says something in a nutshell.
4. Nashville Predators — Del Baggio was kind of a known “shady” commodity. But when it was found out that Boots had intentions of moving the team was really icing on the cake. This scandal could move up the list if it is ever proven that other owners knew about the shenanigans.
3. Buffalo Sabres — John and Tim Rigas alone brought down not only themselves but the entire city of Buffalo when they were arrested and convicted. When something happens over that many millions of dollars….it can never ever be a good time. Thankfully now the Sabres at least have Golisano.
2. New York Islanders — John Spano…super crook. Here is a little excerpt from Wiklpedia from July of 1997.
On July 9, Newsday published a story that exposed Spano as a complete fraud who didn’t have even a fraction of the money required to complete the Islanders deal. Among other things, the Newsday investigation revealed:
- He had grossly misrepresented his net worth: he was worth only $2 million.
- His Bison Group had 22 employees and assets of $3 million.
- He had lied about numerous items on his resume. For instance, he had claimed to have graduated from an exclusive prep school in Ohio, but had actually graduated from a small Catholic school in suburban Cleveland.
- He was facing two lawsuits at the time of the Islanders deal. One was from a Dallas law firm that hadn’t been paid for legal work done during Spano’s abortive deal for the Stars; another was from a South African cookware maker that claimed Spano had misled them into thinking he’d won them a partnership with Nordstrom.
- His “inherited wealth” did not exist; neither of his grandfathers had an estate valued at more than $246,000.
- He had a $1.8 million mortgage on his house.
Under the terms of a mediation brokered by Bettman, Spano relinquished control of the Islanders to Pickett on July 11. In return, Pickett agreed not to sue Spano for breach of contract. Spano later told Sports Illustrated that a “significant” capital call and a payment on a note blew apart his plans to pay Pickett. However, he claimed that once Pickett asked Bettman to intervene and the story broke in the press, it was impossible for him to resolve the dispute.
1. Bruce McNall (Kings Owner) — The sneaky crook….and another excerpt.
just as fast as his star rose, it fell. In December 1993, he defaulted on a $90 million loan, and Bank of America ordered him to put the Kings up for sale or they would force the team into bankruptcy. Under this pressure, McNall was forced to sell controlling interest in the Kings in May 1994 and resign as chairman of the board of governors, though he still remained as president and governor of the Kings for a time. Shortly afterward, he granted a bizarre interview to Vanity Fair in which he admitted to smuggling many of his prized coins out of foreign countries. Other rumors surfaced about his financial situation. Finally, on December 14, he pleaded guilty to five counts of conspiracy and fraud, and admitted to bilking six banks out of $236 million over a ten-year period. He was sentenced to 70 months in prison.
Immediately after McNall’s conviction, it emerged that he’d grossly mismanaged the Kings financially. The team was ultimately forced into bankruptcy.
What was amazing to me (thanks Wikipedia and the AP) is that McNall was still so heavily respected by his players. The team became a joke that it has never fully recovered from. They did have to file for bankruptcy and now struggle to reach a salary floor which for a big market never should happen. It is sad because the Kings were once a team and franchise to be respected and that respect is long gone. But that is why Bruce McNall is the #1 crook of hockey owner crooks!