Mayor Karl Dean’s office on Wednesday quickly rebuked a story posted earlier in the day on the Web site thehockeynews.com about the completion of a deal between the city and a group of local investors, led by David Freeman, which want to purchase the Nashville Predators from Craig Leipold.
Thehockeynews.com reported that Freeman’s group and the city finally reached an agreement over changes to the team’s lease with the Sommet Center that the prospective buyers had been seeking.
Thehockeynews.com writer Ken Campbell wrote today that “Multiple sources have confirmed to THN.com a deal has been reached between the city of Nashville and a prospective local ownership group to rework the team’s lease at the Sommet Center that will guarantee that the Predators remain in Nashville until at least the end of the 2010-11 season.
“The deal has been reached between the city and the group led by Nashville businessman David Freeman. Although the tentative deal has not been approved by either the Metro Sports Authority or Metro Council in Nashville, it is expected it will be ratified by both bodies within the next 30 to 45 days,” Campbell wrote.
As a source, Campbell quoted Metro Council member Charlie Tygard as having viewed the draft of the deal.
“‘From the draft of the deal that I saw, I didn’t see anything in there that would offend a council member or a citizen of Nashville,’” Campbell quoted Tygard as saying.
But Dean’s office said the story was inaccurate.
“No deal has been reached,” said Dean spokeswoman Janel Lacey.
Margie Newman, a spokesman for the Freeman group, said she could not comment on Campbell’s story.
Reached Wednesday afternoon, Tygard said the quotes Campbell attributed to him were taken out of context.
“Friday I saw a rough draft of some preliminary points that were to get us further along and out of the legal issues and all that,” Tygard said. “To my knowledge no deal has been cut, but, quite frankly, all this looked pretty reasonable.”
“Again, all I saw, in less than a minute of time, was sort of a spreadsheet that someone involved in the negotiations had that said we’re getting closer, here are the key points,” Tygard said. “It talked about a definitive time period the Predators would stay here, but I knew that was a floating number… And I know that the lawyers are still hammering out the verbiage.”