Lawsuit claims Thrashers are in financial trouble

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ATLANTA --- The owners of the Atlanta Thrashers claimed Friday to have lost more than $130 million since 2005 and at least another $50 million on the plummeting value of the NHL franchise because of a bitter dispute that ruined their plans to sell the team.

The ownership group, known as Atlanta Spirit, revealed their financial woes in a lawsuit against one of the city's most prominent law firms, claiming faulty legal work is largely to blame for their predicament.

The lawsuit filed in Fulton County Superior Court claims the owners have been negotiating to sell the Thrashers over the past six years, only to be thwarted by a contentious split with Boston-based co-owner Steve Belkin. That legal tussle was finally settled in December when his shares were bought out.

The team's remaining owners contend that the dispute would have ended in August 2005 if the Atlanta law firm King & Spalding hadn't negotiated a "fatally flawed contract." The suit claims the firm's attorneys doled out advice that was "poorly considered, self-interested, and, in many cases, blatantly wrong."

Co-owner Michael Gearon said in a statement that the lawsuit will have no effect on the team.

"My partners and I regret having to file a lawsuit," Gearon said. "But King & Spalding made egregious errors that caused us to be tied up in litigation for five years and cost us an enormous amount of money, time and anguish."

The firm promised a vigorous defense.


In Ottawa, Tomas Plekanec scored twice and Max Pacioretty and Andrei Kostitsyn each had a goal and an assist, leading Montreal.

Benoit Pouliot, Brian Gionta and P.K. Subban also scored and Carey Price made 33 saves for Montreal.

Chris Kelly scored for Ottawa.


In Buffalo, N.Y., Michael Grabner scored twice and rookie goalies Nathan Lawson and Kevin Poulin combined to stop 36 shots in New York's victory.

Matt Moulson, Jack Hillen and P.A. Parenteau also scored for the Islanders. Buffalo's Nathan Gerbe scored goals 5 seconds apart late in the third period.


In Sunrise, Fla., Dominic Moore scored the only shootout goal and Dan Ellis stopped all three Florida shooters in Tampa Bay's victory.

The goal withstood a video review to determine whether Moore hit the puck twice while deking Tomas Vokoun.

Ellis made 30 saves in regulation and overtime, then stopped Mike Santorelli, Michael Frolik and Stephen Weiss before Moore scored for the Lightning.

Steve Downie scored in regulation for Tampa Bay. Cory Stillman scored for Florida.

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usapatriot 01/21/11 - 05:50 pm
took a couple times to read

took a couple times to read this, but i think the owners admit to losing money & are suing the law firm for screwing up the sale. anuone else interpret this?

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