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07-22-2006, 04:26 PM
Hartford man top bidder for Penguins
Samuel Fingold seen as leading suitor

Saturday, July 22, 2006
By Shelly Anderson, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Samuel Fingold, a real estate developer from Hartford, Conn., has emerged as the leading candidate to buy the Penguins and could sign a letter of intent within days to negotiate a deal.

Samuel Fingold: A leading suitor for the Penguins franchise.
Mr. Fingold has the highest offer of the four active bidders, a figure of around $175 million, sources with knowledge of the negotiation process told the Post-Gazette. At least one other bidder, believed to be Lawrence Gottesdiener, may still attempt to outbid him, a source said.

The letter of intent would give Mr. Fingold exclusive rights to negotiate with the hockey club over a period of time, probably 30 days.

Mr. Fingold, 34, grew up a hockey fan in Toronto. He has lived in Hartford for several years and owns Kenyon Investments, a real estate company.

He is pursuing the Penguins as a family venture with his father, David, and his younger brother, Michael.

David and Michael Fingold, both of Toronto, also are in real estate. David Fingold has been involved in multiple real estate projects in Canada and the United States, perhaps the best known being a major condominium development called Chedington in Toronto.

The other three active bidders are Mr. Gottesdiener, a Boston area businessman who has several real estate ventures in Hartford; New York businessman Andrew Murstein, president of Medallion Corp.; and Ohio businessman Jim Renacci, a Ringgold High School graduate who owns an Arena Football team in Columbus.

The Penguins would like to finalize a deal by the start of the season in October. That would mean closing on the sale, getting NHL approval and taking care of other details.

The club's current top officials -- including Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux, a part owner and former CEO -- have expressed an interest in keeping the team in Pittsburgh.

Mr. Fingold has ties to Kansas City, which is looking for an NHL or NBA tenant for its new Sprint Center. As recently as a month ago, he indicated he was bidding for the team with an eye toward moving it to Kansas City, but has since said he thinks it might be viable to keep the Penguins in Pittsburgh.

In addition, several factors seem to indicate that the team will stay put, unless plans fall apart for a new facility that would replace outdated Mellon Arena.

The new owner of the team will inherit an agreement with gaming company Isle of Capri, which has pledged $290 million toward construction of a new arena if it gets the city's slots license.

If one of the other two finalists for the slots license, Forest City and PITG Gaming, get the license, state and local officials have put together an alternative plan for arena funding. Both have committed to provide $7.5 million a year for 30 years for arena construction.

The pledges are a cornerstone of Gov. Ed Rendell's so-called $315 million Plan B to build a new arena in Pittsburgh.

Under its current setup, which would go into effect if Isle of Capri is not awarded a slots license, the Penguins would make an $8.5 million payment toward a new arena, plus $4.1 million per year for 30 years. In addition to the $7.5 million annual contributions from the winning gaming campany, the state would provide $7 million per year from a slots-backed development fund.

The state also would contribute $26.5 million for site acquisition and preparation, which would be paid back once slots revenues begin rolling in.

As long as one of those two possibilities for building an arena is viable, it's doubtful the NHL will allow the team to be relocated. League bylaws list a multitude of conditions that must be met in order for a team to be moved, including whether there are reasonable prospects for viability and whether there are efforts by the community and officials to attain viability.

The state of Mellon Arena, built in the early 1960s, has been major financial drain for the Penguins, who say they are losing millions of dollars a year playing there.

Officials hope to break ground for the new arena next year and have it open in 2009.

Of the other three active bidders, Mr. Murstein and Mr. Renacci have said they were solely interested in keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh. Mr. Gottesdiener has indicated he would be willing to operate the Penguins here but also has expressed an interest in getting an NHL team for Hartford, where there are hopes for a new arena.

An original fifth bidder, a secretive group from Canada, was on the verge of signing a letter of intent a week ago after making a bid of about $175 million.

That group withdrew, apparently because it either was intent on moving the Penguins or believed that even if it tried to operate the Penguins in Pittsburgh, it would not have the option of moving if things got financially strained.

The St. Louis Blues, who have a modern facility, were sold this summer for $150 million, and that included a lease at Savvis Center.

07-22-2006, 08:02 PM
Now that the Pens have Crosby, Malkin, Staal, and Fluery they shouldnt move at all. They will be contenders in about 2-3 years.

07-23-2006, 07:57 AM
Malkin's return may not be as imminent. I think a couple nights ago on PST they said Russia still has to sign off on his transfer.

07-23-2006, 10:22 AM
I'm just hoping to see them stay in Pittsburgh. A new arena would be a big help in that.

How is the casino thing going in PA? I live in Maine and we had one go through for the city of Bangor but it was for slots only. The towns budget actually went up this year while the taxes went down.

07-24-2006, 04:59 PM
Well, as far as Malkin is concerned, I thought Russia already signed the transfer agreement.

As for who will buy the team, I'm hoping Andrew Murstein and his group (which includes Mark Cuban and Dan Marino) buy the team, as he has been the most adamant about keeping the Pens in Pittsburgh, even if the new arena plans fall though. He still wants an arena, of course, but said he's willing to wait a few years if necessary.

And as for the slots license, it seems more and more likely that our idiotic politicians will just give it to whoever gives them the most money, and that doesn't seem to be Isle of Capri. Then, when the taxpayers wonder why they're paying for an arena they could have gotten for free, we'll have our wonderful politicians to thank. Or, should I say, vote out of office.

07-24-2006, 05:34 PM
Updated 7/22/2006 6:54 PM ET E-mail | Save | Print | Subscribe to stories like this Subscribe to stories like this
PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Penguins have rejected a bid to buy the team that had been put together by a group that included Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and former NFL quarterback Dan Marino, the group's financier said.

The group, headed by New York City financier Andrew Murstein, had increased its offer to more than $170 million on Friday, which was as high as the group intended to go, Murstein told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Tribune-Review and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which cited sources close to negotiations for the team's sale, said the high bidder is Sam Fingold, a Hartford, Conn., real estate developer.

Fingold offered about $175 million, the Post-Gazette reported, and could sign a letter of intent within days.

Several other parties are also interested, including Lawrence Gottesdiener, a Boston area businessman with several real estate holdings in Hartford. Gottesdiener's Northland Investment Corp. has said it committed to bringing an NHL franchise back to Hartford. The Hartford Whalers left the city in 1997 for North Carolina, where they became the Carolina Hurricanes.

While the group involving Cuban and Marino had expressed interest in keeping the team in Pittsburgh, Fingold has ties to Kansas City, which has indicated it would like an NHL team.

Despite being based in Hartford, Fingold has said he would not move the team there. "I'd rather buy a team and put it in another city than have it in Hartford and deal with (Mayor) Eddie Perez, because I don't think he quite understands all the economics associated with bringing a team to the city," Fingold told the Hartford Courant earlier this month. "You think Hartford should spend $290 million on a new arena vs. trying to figure out how to fix the school system and cut down crime?"

Penguins officials have said they would like to see the team stay in Pittsburgh.

The Penguins have partnered with Isle of Capri Casinos, one of three casino operators vying for the city's sole slots license, on an arena plan. Isle of Capri said it will pay $290 million for a new arena if it gets the license.

Gov. Ed Rendell has put forth a funding plan calling for $7.5 million a year toward a new arena from either of the other two casino groups, Forest City and PITG Gaming, should either win the license.

The Penguins owners hope to complete the sale before the season begins. The team's lease at Mellon Arena, the oldest and smallest facility in the NHL, expires in June.
Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

07-27-2006, 05:06 PM
Well, if it's just 5 million dollars, I'm surprised Lemieux wouldn't sell to the guy who's promising to keep the Pens here no matter what.

07-28-2006, 08:36 PM
Well, if it's just 5 million dollars, I'm surprised Lemieux wouldn't sell to the guy who's promising to keep the Pens here no matter what.

Im sure he'll do the right thing.

07-28-2006, 08:38 PM
It looks like it'll go to a guy in Connecticut and he says he would consider moving the team if a new arena is not built.

07-28-2006, 10:08 PM
It looks like it'll go to a guy in Connecticut and he says he would consider moving the team if a new arena is not built.

Okay, maybe im wrong.

Its not if a new arena is built. A new arena will get built. It can start being built as early as 2007. Theres a plan B if the IOC doesnt get the license. However, the plan B will only work if the owner wants to keep them here. Our only hope wouldbe if IOC gets approved as it makes it finacially illogical. {As in a garunteed new arena for no money} or if the NHL bars the move, which, is unlikely.

07-28-2006, 10:52 PM
PITTSBURGH -- Sam Fingold, a Hartford, Conn.-based commercial real estate broker and longtime hockey fan, signed a letter of intent Friday to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins from Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux's group.

A deal that is expected to be in the $175 million range was announced after the 34-year-old Fingold met with Lemieux, who bought the two-time Stanley Cup championship team in federal bankruptcy court nearly seven years ago -- partly to protect more than $25 million in deferred salary owed him.

Fingold, a Toronto native, has said he might be interested in moving the team to Kansas City and its new arena. But in a statement issued by the team Friday night, he said he now intends to keep them in Pittsburgh as long as a new arena is built there.

"As passionate hockey fans, we are excited about this opportunity to purchase the Pittsburgh Penguins," Fingold said. "We agree with the current ownership group that the Penguins should remain in Pittsburgh, and that a new arena is crucial to the team's long-term success.

"So many of the elements for success already are in place here, including a loyal fan base and a spectacular core of young talent, led by Sidney Crosby. The Penguins are an important part of Pittsburgh's sports landscape, and it is our objective to do everything possible to secure their future here," he said.

Under the deal, Fingold's group is obligated to carry out the agreement reached by Lemieux's group with Isle of Capri Casinos Inc., which pledged $290 million to build a new arena if it obtains the license to build a downtown slots parlor. State, county and city officials also are working on a so-called Plan B to fund the arena if the Isle of Capri bid is unsuccessful, and each of the other two finalists for the city's sole slots license have agreed to contribute $7.5 million a year toward a new arena.

Among the groups Fingold outbid was one led by New York taxicab medallion financier Andrew Murstein, who pledged to keep the team in Pittsburgh. Murstein brought Pittsburgh native Mark Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, and former star quarterback Dan Marino into his group to help boost its viability.

Fingold's group includes two family members, father David and brother Michael, as well as concert promoter Michael Cohl.

"It was encouraging to have so many groups expressing interest in the Penguins during this process, and we are delighted to have Sam Fingold's group sign a letter of intent," Penguins chief executive officer Ken Sawyer said in the team-issued statement. "Sam and his family have a tremendous background in business and investments, and, just as importantly, they have hockey in their blood. We look forward to working with them to complete the purchase agreement and to achieve their goal of keeping the Penguins in Pittsburgh for the long term."

Fingold's firm, Kenyon Investments, specializes in major renewal and development projects.

Fingold and the Penguins signed a confidentiality agreement, meaning that there will be no further comment until a purchase agreement is reached. If that purchase agreement is completed, the sale would enter the approval stage, a period that could last several months as the NHL reviews the transaction.

While it owned the team, the Lemieux group paid back in full all the money owed by the Penguins before they declared bankruptcy -- something that almost never occurs in such bankruptcy cases. Lemieux's primary backer was California businessman Ron Burkle.

During Lemieux's time as owner, the Penguins reached the playoffs twice and Lemieux made a celebrated comeback in December 2000 after having been retired for 44 months. One of the best players in NHL history retired again in January, during a fourth consecutive Penguins losing season, after being diagnosed with an irregular heart beat.

07-29-2006, 12:01 AM
I hope they get the new arena. They need it no matter who owns the team.

07-29-2006, 10:12 AM
Yeah, Mellon Arena is a piece of crap. it really depends on the slots and then it gets into politics which I really dont understand or care for. The slots are sounding possible though.

07-29-2006, 01:51 PM
Mellon Arena is not a piece of crap. I love the Igloo. There isn't a bad seat in the place. I went there once for a Cavaliers preseason game, just because a bunch of my friends were going and they had an extra ticket, and despite my lack of interest in the NBA, I was thouroughly entertained by the game. I attribute that to the arena having such a great atmosphere for watching a game.

Is it old? Sure. Small? Yeah. Not enough luxury boxes and other expensive stuff to make money from rich people? Definitely. But don't say it's a bad place to watch a game.

07-29-2006, 03:01 PM
I'm not saying the stand are the bad part, but every single NHL player has said the parts you dont see are what need work. I've heard the locker rooms are made of wood.

07-30-2006, 12:28 AM
Well, ok. The facilities for the players are below modern NHL standards, sure. I thought you meant the arena overall is a piece of crap, which couldn't be farther from the truth. But as for the lockerrooms, they show them in the movie Sudden Death, and they don't look that bad. Compared to what the Steelers and Pirates have? Yeah, but compared to what you would think a locker room would look like, not so bad.

07-31-2006, 05:36 PM
Well, ok. The facilities for the players are below modern NHL standards, sure. I thought you meant the arena overall is a piece of crap, which couldn't be farther from the truth. But as for the lockerrooms, they show them in the movie Sudden Death, and they don't look that bad. Compared to what the Steelers and Pirates have? Yeah, but compared to what you would think a locker room would look like, not so bad.

Agreed. The Mellon Arena is a great place. Its just too small.

07-31-2006, 08:22 PM
The Arena is amazing. But It's inablity to reach NHL Standards is the problem. The Penguins are in decent shape to have a new arena either way IN PITTSBURGH.

07-31-2006, 11:22 PM
I think it's more the lease versus how much they can make there that is killing them. I have never been to the arena so can't comment on that. All I know is they always claim the lease is killing them.

08-03-2006, 09:57 PM
Oh, Steelersfan, you should definitely go see a game at Mellon Arena. It's a great place to watch a game. I was there when Crosby got his 100th point, and the atmosphere was in the place was amazing. Even a Cavs/Hawks preseason basketball game was immensly entertaining there, and I don't even like the NBA.

08-03-2006, 10:02 PM
I noticed that the people who do go to the games even if the Pens suck (as I did about 5 times in Feb. and March) are just great fans. Me and my friend are getting a 21 game plan this year.

08-03-2006, 11:43 PM
The Penguins I think will be even better with Evengi, Sid, and Jordan there. Right now Fingold should get ready to sign a new lease for the Penguins to be in Pittsburgh. Because Betman is right now considering blocking any move.

08-04-2006, 10:19 AM
Bettman is a moron.

08-05-2006, 11:28 PM
Bettman is a moron.

Don't forget the BOG has to approve any move. Bettman has said he may not sign it considering they have a plan B.