Gary, we need to have a talk.
Quoth The Tennessean:
Doug Bergeron, a California-based Canadian investor and entrepreneur and
president of DGB Investments, was among those to whom Del Biaggio tried to
market a share of the Predators.
Bergeron said Del Biaggio told him in December that
National Hockey League Commissioner Gary Bettman’s office had given special
permission for Del Biaggio to buy a share of the team without being subjected to
all the scrutiny the league usually gives to prospective owners. Del Biaggio
told him the commissioner’s office did not require him to show audited financial
statements before it approved him.
If that wasn’t fun enough, here’s the verbage straight from Bergeron’s mouth.
Boots bragged to me that he was able to convince Bettman’s office to overlook
the need for his audited financial statements because it was too
Not that I needed to say it but, emphasis mine in that quote.
Too much work? Really? So, let’s run down Herr Bettman’s magic hit list of wonderment:
Tradition? Hates it.
Canada? Hates it. A little less so now that they make money, but still, not a fan.
Fiesty Canadian billionaire geniuses? Hates them.
Doing his job? Not a big fan.
Finding the easy way out every time?
Oh hell yeah!
I know, I’d rather be writing about fun hockey news, but this nonsense is too much to ignore.
Ladies and gentlemen – your commissioner. The garden variety weasel:
To be somewhat fair to Bettman, the facts unleashed in this story out of The Tennessean are quite damning of Boots Del Biaggio and his terrible management of money and ability to massage other people and glad hand his way into getting involved with the Nashville investment group and making others believe he was awash in cash.
This makes Bettman one of many who got fooled by Del Biaggio and would normally lend itself to feeling bad for him and others, like the Nashville Metropolitan Council, who took it on the chin from this scumbag.
Nashville Metro, however, is only a victim because Gary’s backroom dealing with a friend by convenience (convenience in that his name wasn’t Jim Balsillie) made it all possible. After all, The Tennessean makes this point as clear as day:
Metro had such confidence in the thoroughness of the NHL’s vetting process that
it relied heavily on the league and the chief lender, CIT Group, to do the
financial vetting of the prospective Predators owners.
This says a lot about what happens when you fish out the work you should be doing for yourself and it’s a lesson that isn’t lost on the Metro Council now, I’m sure.
The point being here that the NHL goes through a painstaking process to approve new owners and they’ve got a pretty good recent history of turning down verified big money people that want to buy teams. Jim Balsillie wasn’t the first billionaire to get shot down for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got it too.
Bettman opened the door here though. Do not forget this.
By skirting the process and speed delivering Boots to not only make sure that the Predators didn’t go anywhere but also to shut out Balsillie, Bettman nearly commits to the self-fulfilling prophecy in that the Predators may not have much time left in the city of Nashville. Nashville and their investors were at least smart enough to get legally binding assurances and protection from anything that might go wrong in the process, but the fact is, this team is in trouble again and this time, the league and Gary Bettman are doing them no favors by mishandling their dealings.
What a nightmare.
Bettman should be ashamed of himself for this, but he’s already put Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly to work spinning the company line that they dotted every “I” and crossed every “T” in the process, but thankfully, we know better thanks to the words from Doug Bergeron.