NHL

Baum delays hearing; will decide on auction for Balsillie

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The Canadian Press
8/5/2009 2:49:42 PM
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PHOENIX -- An Arizona bankruptcy court judge delayed a hearing Wednesday on whether to find the owner of the Phoenix Coyotes and his lawyers in contempt of court for publicly filing documents that were supposed to be kept confidential.

Judge Redfield T. Baum also said that he plans to rule later in the day on whether buyers who would move the team out of state can participate in a Sept. 10 auction for the team. The judge did not reschedule the contempt hearing.

A group led by Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of baseball's Chicago White Sox and the NBA's Chicago Bulls, has offered US$148 million to buy the team and keep it in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb.

Team owner Jerry Moyes opposes the Reinsdorf deal, which would give him little or no money. He supports a proposal by Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie to buy the team for $212.5 million and move it to Hamilton. That deal would give Moyes about $100 million.

But the NHL has unanimously rejected Balsillie as an owner.

Baum had ordered Moyes, his wife Vickie and their lawyers to appear at the hearing Wednesday to show why they should not be held in contempt for "willfully violating" a confidentiality order.

Lawyers for Moyes posted confidential documents to the public docket last week. The documents were later removed, but Glendale, Ariz., sought the contempt order on Monday, saying the city was "absolutely outraged" by the release of the information.

The Arizona Republic saw the appendix before it was removed.

It showed that Reinsdorf has asked for a special taxing district to be created near the arena that would pay the new owners as much as $23 million next year. And if the team was still losing money after five years, Glendale would have to pay Reinsdorf $15 million for each year of losses or allow the team to be sold and moved without penalty, according to the newspaper.

Glendale contends the release of confidential negotiations would discourage potential buyers from participating and have a "chilling effect" on the sale process.

Jim Balsillie (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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