TAMPA — On the eve of the Storm's return to the ArenaBowl, a courtroom battle is taking shape.
Former owner Peter "Woody" Kern and coach Tim Marcum are filing a lawsuit in Hillsborough County Circuit Court alleging that former owner Dr. Robert Nucci failed to meet payment obligations. Nucci purchased the team from Kern, who currently owns the Dallas Vigilantes, for a reported $18.9 million in 2007. A payment scheduled for July 15 had not been made, said attorney Patrick F. Sprague, who represents Kern and Marcum.
Sprague said Wednesday the paperwork "is out of my office and should be (in court this) morning."
Nucci sued Kern, Marcum, the league and the current owners — Tampa Bay Storm Partners — in June, saying they knew about the former arena league's insolvency and deceived him into buying a worthless franchise. Nucci owned the Storm through the 2008 season. In 2009, the former league filed for bankruptcy and suspended play.
The rights to the teams and markets were sold to Arena Football One for $6.1 million, and the old league was dissolved.
league awards: Defensive lineman Tim McGill, receiver DeAndrew Rubin and offensive lineman Robert Powell were honored by the league for their play in the Storm's 63-62 win against Orlando in the American Conference Championship game on Saturday.
The Storm plays at Spokane in the ArenaBowl on Friday.
McGill was named defensive player of the week for his steady pressure on quarterback Nick Hill. McGill contributed to two Hill fumbles, and he had two tackles for loss.
Rubin, who led the Storm with 10 receptions for 116 yards and two touchdowns, won the catch of the week prize. Rubin hauled in a 9-yard out and tumbled over the end zone wall with four minutes left in the first quarter to tie the score at 7.
Powell won highlight of the week for scooping up a Thomas Kaleita fumble at the Orlando 18-yard line and rumbling into the end zone for his first touchdown of the season.
HomeField Advantage? The league returned to its format of the team with the best record hosting the ArenaBowl after four pre-bankruptcy seasons of the title game being played at a neutral site. Home teams were 9-9 in the first 18 years of the Arena- Bowl.
Ortiz returns: Marcum said linebacker/fullback Eric Ortiz will be signed this week and OL/FB Greg Hammond released.
Watch Party: The Storm will host a watch party for the ArenaBowl at Rock-N-Sports Bar and Bistro in Centro Ybor in Tampa's Ybor City. There will be food and drink specials, an appearance by the Storm dancers and the conference championship trophy.