Kickoff for the Augusta Colts indoor football game Friday wasn't scheduled until 7:30 p.m. The Colts, however, already were playing defense Friday morning.
At a meeting called by the Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority, Jimmy Young -- the majority owner of the Augusta Spartans indoor football team, which played in James Brown Arena last year -- contended that the field and equipment currently being used by the Colts belong to him.
"I own the field. I own the equipment. I own everything," Young said after the meeting. "I want this resolved. I don't want to be an owner. I want to be out."
The Colts, in their first year of operation after they purchased the American Indoor Football Association franchise rights from Young in December, have been using the field, equipment and office supplies since the sale, and they also claim ownership. Four months after the sale, Young is challenging their right to the equipment.
At a hearing Friday afternoon, Superior Court Judge Danny Craig ordered a temporary restraining order on Young, prohibiting him from "interfering with all ownership operations, property and/or assets utilized in AC football games and practices, including turf, field, and goals," until further order of the court.
A half-page, undated contract signed by Young, Spartans minority owner Scott Gunter and Colts owner John Sisson was not professionally drafted and didn't directly refer to the equipment. Gunter, who owned 15 percent of the Spartans, said it was his understanding that the transaction included everything.
"The deal was cut with the Augusta Colts, and the assets went with the deal," Gunter said.
Young said it was fine with him that the Colts used the equipment for Friday's scheduled game, but he declined the same for the other four home games on the 2008 regular-season schedule.
Attorney Daniel Hamilton, representing the Colts, said the Colts were prepared to take legal action to claim what is rightfully theirs.
"If necessary, we can produce evidence that all assets were included in the transaction of the team," Hamilton said. "The Augusta Colts won't be held hostage or be subject to a shakedown."
In the middle is the coliseum authority which, according to committee chairman Keith Brown, wasn't there to settle the argument but to find out whom James Brown Arena employees should take orders from regarding the football equipment and field that has been stored on site.
Brown told the two parties to come to a resolution by April 14.
Young said his idea of a resolution would involve the Colts paying him for all of the assets in question.
He estimated the cost of the assets at $75,000.
"I want to be compensated for that," Young said. "I know it's not new anymore, and you can't get face value. I think about half of that would be fair."
Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or firstname.lastname@example.org.