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Zoldan, NAHL make a deal



Published: Thu, August 13, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.

photo

Bruce Zoldan

The details of the settlement reached in common pleas court are confidential.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

CITY HALL REPORTER

YOUNGSTOWN — The owners of the former Mahoning Valley Phantoms and the North American Hockey League have come to a settlement over a $50,000 payment the league demanded from the team.

Attorneys for the league and the Phantoms — as well as the defunct team’s owner, Bruce Zoldan, and his company, B.J. Alan Co. — resolved the dispute before Wednesday’s hearing on a request by the team for a preliminary injunction in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.

The deal includes a confidentiality clause so the details won’t be released, said William A. Weimer, B.J. Alan Co.’s vice president and general counsel.

When asked if he was satisfied with the outcome, Weimer said, “In every settlement there’s an element of satisfaction and disappointment when you make a settlement. You’re only happy when you win. A settlement involves give and take. There are aspects of the settlement that we’re pleased with and there are aspects of the settlement we aren’t pleased with.”

The NAHL demanded $50,000 from the owners of the former team as a penalty for leaving the amateur hockey league.

Under NAHL rules, when a team leaves it “agrees to indemnify the NAHL to the full extent of any costs, expenses, claims, demands and/or damages incurred by the league.”

In a June 29 letter to Zoldan, Robert F. Riley, the NAHL’s legal counsel, wrote that the losses “cannot be easily valued” and the Phantoms should pay $50,000 to the league.

Phantoms ownership contended in a legal filing that the NAHL board of governors voted in May to kick the team out of the league. Because of that, they contended no money was owed to the NAHL.

Zoldan had told The Vindicator as early as January that he wanted to leave the NAHL, but he never officially notified the league.

Attempts on Wednesday by the newspaper to contact Riley and NAHL commissioner Mark Frankenfeld were unsuccessful. Riley has declined to comment on the issue in the past, and Frankenfeld didn’t respond to a previous request for a response to the Phantoms’ legal filing.

Zoldan signed a deal a few months ago with the United States Hockey League, the top amateur hockey league in the country, to field a team — known as the Youngstown Phantoms — at the Covelli Centre for the upcoming season.

The city’s board of control is to approve a final contract with the Youngstown Phantoms at its meeting today.

The deal was supposed to be finalized by June, but minor contract language, among other small issues, delayed it, city officials and Zoldan had said.

The final five-year contract is essentially the same as the letter of intent approved by both parties in May.

Also today, the board of control is to sign a three-year contract with Covelli Enterprises for the naming rights to the city-owned facility.

The deal, retroactive to May 1, has Covelli paying $120,000 a year for the naming rights. The city and Covelli had an agreement in principle since late April.

skolnick@vindy.com


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