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NHL commissioner Gary Bettman orders Tampa Bay Lightning owner Len Barrie to come up with $10 million by Friday

Len Barrie, top, is under orders from Gary Bettman to pay up.

Len Barrie, top, is under orders from Gary Bettman to pay up.

Another chapter in the story of the Lightning's bickering owners will play out this week, as Len Barrie has a Friday deadline to come up with $10 million to prove he can continue funding the team.

The deadline was imposed by commissioner Gary Bettman, who has ordered the participants to not speak on the issue.

Bettman acted during a June meeting in his New York office when he demanded Barrie and co-owner Oren Koules settle their financial and philosophical differences about how to build the team.

Barrie must come up with cash or an irrevocable letter of credit from a financial institution payable to the NHL. The money is to cover his share of the team's projected losses for the fiscal year that began July 1 and provide an additional cushion.

Consequences for not complying were unclear, though it is conceivable Bettman could take away Barrie's managerial rights.

If Barrie meets the deadline, the status quo likely remains — Koules as CEO and governor with Barrie's input required for all major player decisions — while Bettman combs through papers submitted by both sides to determine who should run the team.

Barrie, Koules and the league declined comment, citing Bettman's gag order. Still, that Barrie has to take this step indicates previous financial issues.

On that note, last week was a good one for Barrie, who announced a commitment from investment firm Siraj Capital of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to pour $350 million into Barrie's 1,300-acre Bear Mountain Golf Resort and Spa in Victoria, British Columbia.

A news release said the money will be used for "further expansion and development of the resort" but gives Siraj Capital, in Barrie's words, "an ownership interest in the underlying asset," with a predicted worth in 10 to 12 years when it is built out of $2.5 billion to $3.5 billion. Siraj CEO Ibrahim Mardam-Bey confirmed the transaction in the release.

The deal is expected to close in October and, presumably, gives Barrie more liquidity going forward as well as leverage if he is talking to a bank about providing a loan or letter of credit to meet Friday's deadline.

DEVILS: Jacques Lemaire, 63, is returning for a second stint as New Jersey's coach. Lemaire, who won the first of the team's three Stanley Cups in 1995, was hired to replace Brent Sutter, who resigned after two seasons. Terms were not disclosed.

Damian Cristodero can be reached at [email protected] Information from Times wires was used in this report.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman orders Tampa Bay Lightning owner Len Barrie to come up with $10 million by Friday 07/13/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 14, 2009 6:26am]
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