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BANKRUPTCY HEARING RECAP

Tuesday, 08.11.2009 / 4:25 PM / News
By Dave Vest
The biggest development of the latest Coyotes' bankruptcy hearing came just before a recess Tuesday afternoon when Steven Abramowitz, a lawyer for SOF Investments - the team's largest secured creditor - told Judge Redfield T. Baum that SOF Investments had reached a financial agreement in principle with Glendale Hockey LLC, a "local" group bidding on the team. Abramowitz said group leader Jerry Reinsdorf agreed "to a substantial paydown and rollover of the remainder of the debt."
   
Interestingly, just moments before Abramowitz spoke inside a downtown Phoenix courtroom, Adam Klein, a lawyer representing Glendale Hockey LLC, emphatically told the judge via telephone that Reinsdorf was seriously considering withdrawing the bid because some of its private details had recently been made public.

"If that is going to continue to occur, I don't know how much longer he (Reinsdorf) is going to be here wasting time and money," Klein said.

Baum scheduled the case's next hearing for Sept. 2. At that hearing, the NHL is expected to argue that Canadian businessman Jim Balsillie should not be allowed to participate in the auction for the team because the league's Board of Governors already has rejected him as a potential owner. Last week, Baum granted Balsillie, and any other bidder who would like to buy and relocate the team, permission to participate in the auction set for Sept. 10.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman attended the hearing prepared to testify on the league's behalf. Ultimately, he did not address the court.

After the hearing, Bettman answered questions from reporters outside the courthouse.

"This is just another step on the road, a road that we hope begins and ends in Glendale," Bettman said regarding the news that SOF Investments now supports the Reinsdorf bid.

He later added, "The club staying in Glendale is the right answer. This club, as I've repeatedly said, should never have been (placed) in bankruptcy and the attempt to use the bankruptcy court to circumvent league rules is something that we don't think should be condoned."  


 
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