The Metro Sports Authority decided Friday to dig deeper into the finances of the Nashville Predators. Board members are worried about the financial health of the team’s owners.
Court filings recently revealed majority owner David Freeman has a $3.3 million tax lien from 2007, the same year he helped buy the team.
As a stipulation for added subsidies from the city, the ownership group had to make guarantees of their net worth. Because of those signed guarantees, Sports Authority chairman Arnett Bodenhamer says there’s a possibility the team is in default. That would trigger millions in penalties. Bodenhamer says it also means the team could skip town, which he says no one wants.
“If we put them in default, we lose a lot of control. I mean there’s a whole lot of folks involved in this besides the Sports Authority, Metro Nashville. Banks. Other lenders. We put them in default then they can go do something and we get in line.”
Bodenhamer says the city may not be first in line if the team were to go bankrupt.
Sports Authority member Lauren Brisky will review the Predators’ finances in private and report back to the board in January. She’s the former CFO of Vanderbilt University.
Board member Ralph Perrey says it seems like a good idea to avoid open meetings.
“When we speculate in public, that becomes news, not just here but in every NHL city.”
For her part, Brisky refused to answer questions after the meeting.
The Predators have already had to manage through the bankruptcy of one former member of the ownership group, as well as the bankruptcy of one of its lenders – CIT – and slow ticket sales.