City Looks to Sue Falcons Hockey Team

January 13, 2009 7:03:01 PM PST
The Fresno City Council met behind closed doors Tuesday to discuss a possible lawsuit against the folded Falcons hockey team.Since the team went bust-- Falcons season ticket holders have been looking for compensation. Tuesday city council amped up efforts to find ways to reclaim money they invested in this team and in Selland Arena.

It's been nearly a month since hockey fans have seen a puck hit this rink. Fresno Falcons team owners closed the doors at Selland Arena due to the poor economy and slumping ticket sales. The city of Fresno invested money in the team and Tuesday afternoon in a closed door meeting council members discussed a possible lawsuit against team owners.

"We have to look after our interest," said new councilmember Andreas Borgeas.

Borgeas said a forensic attorney is looking at the 20-year financial agreement between the team and the city. City attorney Jim Sanchez said when the Falcons closed up shop it put the city out $180,000 a year. That's why the city is considering a lawsuit.

"Right now we're going through the due diligence to make sure we've looked at all the potential sources of recovery before we come to a conclusion and before counsel makes their decision," said Sanchez.

As if the falcons weren't already in enough financial trouble management at Gateway Ice Center claims the team still owes them money for use of the arena and use of the locker rooms.

Falcons owners were unavailable for comment. Former Falcon C.E.O. John Tull said he cannot speak to the financial obligations of the owners but said he is currently working on returning money to season ticket holders. Tull is offering a full refund or season tickets to Grizzlies baseball games. Season ticket holder Sherry Brown said it's embarassing what's happened to the team.

"The fact that they're doing this offer is nothing short of funny. By the time they get to the letter "C" they were on the "A's" this morning. There's not going to be any money left," said Sherry Brown. Former C.E.O. Tull said the money should be returned to ticket holders by the end of February. City council members say it will be several weeks before they decide on a lawsuit.

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