Dallas Stars Sale: Could Gaglardi See Competing Bids in Bankruptcy Court?

For over a month now the only name emerging from Dallas Stars sale reports has been that of Tom Gaglardi, Canadian businessman. Gaglardi, 43, is the president of Northlands Properties, the parent company for Sandman Hotels, as well as several Canadian restaurants chains.

Pinning it's hopes on timeliness and, "anyone but Hicks" as the saying goes these days, the Dallas fan-base realized quickly that the time-line was so constricted that Gaglardi was the one and only way to get ownership transferred and have an expanded operating budget for next season in place on July 1st (i.e., place a competitive, meaningful bid on Brad Richards).

Yesterdays developments (or rather the lack of developments last week) tell us that this process will now likely last into mid-July, if not August, and that the "Gaglardi or bust" mentality when it comes to the July 1st deadline may need to be reevaluated.

The natural tendency is to worry only about the 2011-2012 season and how this team can improve immediately, but the sale of this team will affect the Dallas Stars five years from now; ten years from now; fifteen years from now. Brad Richards or a Canuck defenseman may be the apple of everyone's eye at present but regardless of whether or not they make the playoffs next season, we're all still going to be Stars fans beyond that.

 Which is all to say that yesterday's news of potential competing bids mucking up the bankruptcy court proceedings and dragging this thing out even longer is disheartening, but the big picture must be considered more important. The best owner, even if it takes until September, is paramount.

According to reports yesterday, Mr. Gaglardi is still the lead horse and must be considered the heavy, heavy favorite at this point but some some old names are still lurking and a new one surfaced. The known pool is:

  • Tom Gaglardi
  • Doug Miller
  • Billy Quinn (and Mark Cuban? Maybe?)
  • Christopher T. Charlton

Most of those names we know, one we do not. Follow the jump...

Doug Miller we know and like, because he's local, he owns the Allen Americans, and he loves hockey. Two months ago we were receiving strong signs internally from people around and in the Stars organization and the Americans that Mr. Miller was closing in on the prize, but it was Gaglardi emerged with the exclusivity agreement.

Billy Quinn was one of the very first names we heard in 2010 when the team first went up for sale. His name at the time was connected loosely to Mike Modano's. He's a local guy as well with money in the oil business. Yesterday the Dallas Morning News mentioned his name in connection to Mark Cuban. The copy appeared thusly:

According to sources, Dallas businessman Doug Miller and Dallas businessman Billy Quinn would still be interested in looking at the offer and possibly trying to better it in hopes of getting the team. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is working with Quinn, accourding to sources.

It has since been changed and now looks like this on the Dallas Morning News web site...

According to the two sources, Dallas businessmen Doug Miller and Billy Quinn would still be interested in possibly trying to better Gaglardi’s offer.

So it is possible that the Cuban reports proved to be erroneous or else unreliable and were removed from the story. It seems like Mr. Cuban is a little busy these days, anyway.

Then there was a new name at this late hour: Christopher T. Charlton. He is a Detroit based businessman who's "Charlton Group, Inc." supplies automotive parts, among other things. Little is known about him and little can be gleaned from the internet as to his history or interests. The best I can tell is that he has not previously been linked to any potential professional sports franchise purchases.

Here is is bio as provided by the Charlton Group's website...

Christopher Charlton is the President and Founder of The Charlton Group, Inc., a privately held global consortium of companies with activities in the following sectors: Automotive, technology, venture capital, energy, real estate development and holdings, along with manufacturing in North America and China.

In addition to other investments, both public and private, Mr. Charlton has been actively engaged in emerging markets, particularly China and India since 1982 and currently has an affiliation with Deloitte Consulting that mitigates the risk and accelerates the process for sourcing in these markets.

Mr. Charlton is a graduate of Michigan State University, the father of two children, and an avid sportsman, including hiking, high level tennis, skiing, and a black belt in martial arts. He is a bible study participant, philanthropist, President of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, major benefactor of Mayo Clinic, including endowments to the Charlton Building at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, a member of the Visiting Committee of the Michigan Center for Theoretical Physics and political/international trade and commerce advocate.

Charlton is a little bit of a moving target as the Morning News first characterized is involvement as seemingly unlikely due to being behind "on research" but the article has been changed to say that he could be "open to making a bid."

Keep in mind that previously we were told that Mr. Gaglardi's bid was "significantly" higher than anyone else's, and it was the reason why he was awarded the exclusivity arrangement in the first place.

These guys all seemingly love hockey, have deep pockets, and are successful businessmen. If Gaglardi cannot gain control of the team in time for free agency to start and Joe Nieuwendyk's hands will be tied by a small budget once again anyway, would you prefer another one of these owners to step up?

(Or should beggars not be choosers?)

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