HSG Selling the Crew????

Discussion in 'Columbus Crew SC' started by myshap, Nov 10, 2003.

  1. myshap

    myshap Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Relax just a question.

    There's been a lot of talk around the league with
    AEG teams selling 3 of their remaining 5 teams. Some of the speculation has envolved clubs like Club America or Bayern(although I think this is has more to do with the company then BL). With that has come a lot of reactionary comments from fans of these teams about exactly who would come in and what they would do.

    Here's the question: how would you feel as Crew fans if HSG decided to sell the Crew? Would it matter if it was a local business man or a foreign investor?

    It could happen. If you think of the three clubs Hunt owns, Columbus is probably the team with the least ties to the Hunts. They've been in KC with the Chiefs for a long time and they are from Dallas. Personally I wouldn't care if HSG sold the Crew. I'd prefer a local owner who cares about the Crew over a foreign investor though.
     
  2. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    seeing as how HSG has invested so much in to columbus with the building of the stadium with hunt's own personal money and all i just don't see them leaving columbus...

    the battle he had with a local man over ownership of the bluejackets <mcconnell> probably makes him wanna stick around just for the hell of it, keeping a watchful eye out ;)
     
  3. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It's also impossible to know just how much of the Crew Massah Lamar actually owns. Remember that, originally, it was only 51%. The group of local nincompoops, led by The Worlds' Largest Mayors' best freind, that fatass Ron Pizzuti, bought 49%.

    Now I doubt that most of them have been willing to meet the cash calls every year, but they still list six or eight people. So selling the Crew wouldn't put as much in his pocket as some other clubs would.

    In any case, fidlerre is right - he feels (with some justification) that he got screwed on the Bluejackets deal. And to add insult to injury the lawsuit over the whole thing was heard by a local policital crony of the Mayors'. The fix was in.

    In any case, unless Les Wexner wants to give up buying incomprehensibly obscure and stupid "art" and use the dough to buy the Crew, there really isn't anybody local who comes to mind as a candidate anyway.
     
  4. Eggy

    Eggy New Member

    May 28, 1999
    CBUS
    You mean Bayer not Bayern. Bayern is Munich.
     
  5. myshap

    myshap Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    I need some clarification here:

    I thought I/Os only got 49% and the league owned 51%. If an I/O owns 51% of the team that means they own the team, but I thought the league owns the teams and the I/O are investors in those teams. I thought that's how SEM worked and how the league controls player movement.

    Who's this Pizzuti dude? I heard of the guy that runs the stars, but never him.

    Now are you saying this Pizzuti bought 49% of Hunt's 49% of the team. If the latter, wouldn't this Pizzuti guy be the official I/O because he owns 49% of Hunt's 49%. I know that Hunt then would own 51% of the 49%, but there are 7 other investors that would eat into Hunt's 51% as well. So that would make Pizzuti the I/O. I'm confused.
     
  6. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Somebody else will recall the details better, but what I remember is that the buy-in for being an I/O for a given team was five million dollars. There wasn't anybody locally who wanted to pony up, so Lamar paid, essentially $ 2,500,001 for the majority share of the "I/Oship" of the Crew.

    Now the terms of being an I/O (what it means, what it gives you, etc.) have changed somewhat AIUI, but of course all that is super-secret decoder ring stuff with MLS so who knows what the deal really is now.

    Now with most ownership arrangements, when the entity loses money the partners have to divide up the deficit based on the percentage of their original ownership. But in this case there were a number of guys who paid as little as $25,000 (guys like Archie Griffin for example) because Pizzuti wanted their name involved. And I just don't believe that every January good old Archie writes MLS a check for his share of that years' losses in San Jose.

    So the small shareholders' interests have likely either been vastly diluted or absorbed altogether. Impossible to say for certain one way or the other.

    Ron Pizzuti is a local "developer" (that big condo/high rise downtown on the river, Miranova, is his) who was a big pal and contributor to Greg Lashutka. Big Greg had some pull early on and he steered the Hunts to his man Ron, whose major interest appeared to be that he thought there was gonna be some money in it for his company, building a stadium.

    For awhile Pizzuti was the local, public face of the Crew - he was always in the paper, and was tight with the Hunts. Part of the deal with HSG was that he was supposed to be the majority owner when the city got an NHL franchise, and presumably Pizzuti saw dollar signs there as well.

    But John McConnell came in out of the blue and all of a sudden everybody got amnesia regarding the arrangements with Hunt, who rightly felt that he got a screwing. Pizzuti didn't back Lamar up and I doubt everything is quite so congenial now. I suspect Pizzuti would be only too happy to get his money out.
     
  7. markxinger

    markxinger Member

    Mar 25, 2001
    Gahanna, Ohio
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Something is missing from the mix here.

    My facts may be fuzzy.... but a few years back someone wrote a letter to he Dispatch complaining that there was too much Blue Jackets coverage and not enough Crew, and that the reason was the Dispatch was part owner of the Blue Jackets.

    And the Dispatch editors reply was that the Dispatch was a part owner of the Crew also. The number 5% sticks in my head.

    Anybody else remeber this?
     
  8. Flyer Fan

    Flyer Fan Member+

    Apr 18, 1999
    Columbus, OH
    Ron Pizzuti has the same title as Lamar Hunt and Clark Hunt - Investor-Operator. The local investors, according to the 2003 media guide, are:
    • Benlucas Limited
    • First Financial Group, Inc.
    • John G. Hondros
    • George Jenkins
    • J.F. Keeler, Jr.
    • Tahlman Krumm, Jr.
    • John H. McConnell (Blue Jackets man)
    • Joseph Milano, Jr. (Columbus Stars soccer and hockey)
    • Pizzuti Sports Limited
    • Michael T. Radcliffe
    • Riverside Sports Medicine, Inc.
    • TCS Limited Partnership
    • William White
    • Wolfe Enterprises, Inc. (Dispatch, right?)
     
  9. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    John McConnell founded Worthington Steel, essentially inventing the steel processing business. He, Pizzuti and John Wolfe are the owners of the Bluejackets.

    The NHL was all set to come to CBus, under the auspices of the original group, which included Hunt, but a ballot proposal for an arena went down in flames. So, the story goes, the NHL got ahold of McConnel and asked him if he could salvage the deal.

    He got the Nationwide Insurance guy, Dimon McPherson, to commit to building the arena without public money. So then McConnel, Wolfe and Pizzuti applied for the franchise, which was quickly awarded. Hunt felt he had been hosed, and produced a document whereby everyone involved agreed that they were all partners in the hockey deal.

    But the court ruled that the original group died with the defeat of the arena issue, and that the other guys were free to form a new partnership.

    Anyway, Wolfe, McConnell and Pizzuti all kicked in on the Crew as part of their original deal.

    Where the hell is Crewschmack? He knows more about all this than I do.
     
  10. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    bill you have pretty much explained it correctly...nothing more to add.

    and flyer, wolfe is indeed "the" dispatch media group <dispatch, local cbs station, 1460, etc>
     
  11. myshap

    myshap Member

    Jun 19, 2002
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Was the arena issue the same one as the SSS issue? Meaning they wanted to build both downtown on the old State Penn site. That would have been sweet, although I'm happy with CCS, that stadium would have had the bells and whistles and in a nice setting amongst the tall buildings.

    Well back to the topic. So would we panic if this Pizzuti guy decided just to buyout Hunt out-right or if say a foreign investor came calling? Are their any other teams in MLS with as many Investors as the Crew?
     
  12. fidlerre

    fidlerre Moderator
    Staff Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    Central Ohio
    yep, that's the one. the one where that one fella who was for "citizens right" came in to town and spoiled the whole thing by getting the public to vote against the tax that would have raised the money to build both arenas at the pen site...where is that guy now, ruining some other city probably?
    i don't think pizzuti would wanna or could buy out the crew, i don't think he has the money to spend <he isn't worth enough> on the franchise and second i don't think he wants it, like most of these small investors he is there for the "local connection" and to have his name associated with the club. hunt is in the business b/c he likes the sport, if he sold to another investor who was dedicated to columbus i wouldn't mind...
     
  13. Kryptonite

    Kryptonite Fancy Title Here

    Apr 10, 1999
    Columbus
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From what I heard, (I think his name is Richard something) buzzed off to some small town in New England, sometime around the arrival of the BlueJackets.
     
  14. Bill Archer

    Bill Archer BigSoccer Supporter

    Mar 19, 2002
    Washington, NC
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Just stopped by to dump some files. Ran across these while getting ready to trash a hard drive and thought some of you might find them interesting in regard to the Hunt/Pizzuti/Wolfe?McConnel discussion.

    Under the Issue 1 proposal, Hunt's Columbus Crew would have played in the stadium and Hunt Sports Group would have operated the stadium and arena. After the issue was defeated, he expressed little hope for a privately funded arena and was not involved in efforts to find an alternative plan.

    http://www.interaxs.net/pub/mikemonett/arena2.htm

    This is how absurd it got: The Columbus Group sued Hunt, Hunt countersued, and one of the prime witnesses was some poor shlub who needed a ride up for the hearing:

    I know we've been in the same town at the same time. But I've talked to Lamar Hunt once -- on the telephone. That was to ask him if I was going to have to testify in the trial."


    http://www.enquirer.com/columns/sullivan/1998/05/051098ts.html

    And one of the many lawsuits, this one being basically an attempt to move the trial out of Columbus, where Hunt was sure to lose.

    CHL was then formed to obtain and operate an NHL franchise for Columbus, Ohio. The members of the CHL would include Hunt Sports, defendant Ronald Pizzuti, John H. McConnell, John F. Wolfe, Jay Schottenstein and Ameritech. Certain of these individuals joined CHL through business entities they controlled. Each member contributed $25,000 upon joining CHL. The contributions were to fund the NHL application fee of $100,000 ($50,000 of which was non-refundable) and costs connected with preparing the application. It was agreed that Hunt Sports would be the operating member of CHL.



    http://www.nycourts.gov/comdiv/Law Report Files/October 1998/colum678.htm
     

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