To listen to Bruce Levenson, the two are one-in-the same. You know…come to think of it…I’ve never seen the two in the same room at the same time. Hmmmmmm….
Anywhooo, as Kristie Swartz reported yesterday, “In a memo cited in court Tuesday by Belkin’s attorney, Atlanta Spirit LLC co-owner Bruce Levenson mentions ‘Belkin’s misdeeds’ as a business partner and says his wrongdoings should have a ‘not-so-subliminal affect against the evil Belkin’”.
Can’t you just imagine the lawyer placing his pinkie to the corner of his mouth as he uttered the word… EEEeeee-vil?
At the root of this mess is the deal that brought Joe Johnson to the NBA Hawks from the Phoenix Suns a few years back. Belkin, who owns a 30% stake in the two teams and was supposedly the Hawks NBA representative of the eight, didn’t much cotton to the idea.
But, the other seven wanted Joe and eventually Belkin stepped down.
Now, as I am quite sure all Thrashers and Hawks fans are aware, this week the two parties face off in a Maryland court seeking judgement on exactly how seven of these clowns that make up the Spirit Group LLC…or to some, the Spirit Clowns SUX…are going to be able to buy out the eighth one, Belkin.
Almost since the beginning of this “partnership” in March 2004, the two sides have bickering and arguing over such things as who gets the better seats at the NBA All Star game, who owes who how much money and so forth. In the process, they have all but starved the Thrashers of the resources it needs to build a successful organ-I-zation. Such things like money for better players and better GM…you know, the basics.
Some have argued that the remaining seven clowns have intentionally tried to drive down the overall value of this team so, should an unfavorable ruling be handed down by the bench, they wouldn’t have to dish out quite so much payola to Belkin. Indeed, if you examine how the payroll for this team has declined over the past few seasons…which some would point out is a direct link to their decline in the standings during that time…it’s really not to hard for one to come to such a conclusion.
Continuing with Ms. Swartz’s fine report…Belkin’s attorney, Jack Fabiano “argued that Belkin completed his side of the deal — he let the owners sign Joe Johnson, and he stepped down as NBA governor. So now, the others should pay up — $142.8 million — plus millions in interest”.
That’s… One hundred and forty two point eight Millllllllion dollars! Mwa-HAHAHAHA!
Oh yeah…plus interest.
The trial will not only circulate around the Joe Johnson affair and the money owed…but also they are looking for the judge to decide which appraisal to use in order to place fair a value on the two teams. This will dictate the amout in which Belkin is due in order to be bought out. Belkin has chosen to go with J.P. Morgan who places the $142.8 million price tag on the teams after objecting to CitiGroup’s 2005 appraisal. The Dirty Half-Dozen + One also didn’t like CitiGroup…hey look, they can agree on something…but now, “they don’t know what to do”.
Hmmm…kinda the same way that they don’t seem to know what to do in regards to owning and running a successful NHL franchise, maybe?
So, in short, the parties are looking for the judge to point them in the right direction.
Now, the question that burns on the lips of each and every Thrashers fan is, “Which side should we be rooting for when it comes to what is best for our team”?
Most people that I have spoken to have indicated that Belkin being bought out for his price and this mess coming to an end is ultimately what is best. But, no matter which side “wins” in the coming weeks, there are sure to be appeals a-plenty just down the road. So, it could still be months… if not years… before this cluster gets settle once and for all.
In the mean time, I fear, the same clowns that have been running the Thrashers into the ground over the recent years will continue to be in control even if just for another season or two. They will continue to employ a GM that has overseen the dismantling of a promising climb to respectability not to long ago…to a second-season expansion-era team… regardless of how bad last year was, this year is and next year might be. Worse, they will continue to devalue the team as much as possible as to screw their former colleague out of as much money as they can.
And thus, the Thrashers and their fan base will be the one’s that truly suffer further in this ordeal…much like the children in a messy divorce.
And that, my friends, is truly…evil.