Silence not bad in Tampa Bay Lightning ownership saga

Last we heard from Jeff Greene, the Miami Beach real estate investor had filed an application for ownership with the NHL. Confirmation by the league set off speculation that Greene, who Forbes says is worth $1.25 billion, had accelerated efforts to buy a majority share of the Lightning.

A month later, Greene seems in a holding pattern, perhaps in part because he and his wife, Mei Sze Chan, recently had their first child. Greene's representative, though, said his client's interest in the team has not changed and his due diligence continues.

Where that leaves Anthony Sansone Jr., another potential buyer, is unclear.

There were rumblings the St. Louis real estate developer had stepped up efforts to secure financing, but that could not be confirmed. In a text message, Sansone, originally part of Len Barrie's failed attempt to buy out fellow co-owner Oren Koules, acknowledged only his "passion" for the project.

It is not believed that either Greene or Sansone has a signed deal, though Greene's confirmed application with the league and ability to self-finance makes him the front-runner.

Still, the situation could linger well into the season.

One thing is sure: If either Sansone or Greene gets the team, the imprint of the current owners will change.

With Sansone, it is believed Koules would be bought out and Barrie's stake would be small.

If Greene gets the team, it is believed Barrie would be bought out. Koules, who recruited Greene, would be a secondary owner but likely retain a voice in personnel and organizational matters.

BARRIE'S TROUBLES: Barrie told Canada's National Post that a deal with Siraj Capital to infuse $350 million into his Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria, British Columbia, might not close this month as expected. Barrie said if the deal was not done by January, he would seek alternate financing.

Barrie told the St. Petersburg Times he will meet this month with Siraj Capital officials. A spokesman for the company declined an interview request.

Silence not bad in Tampa Bay Lightning ownership saga 10/10/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 10, 2009 10:07pm]

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