Owners say they'll get Amerks stabalized

It was reported in the Democrat and Chronicle today that Randall Latona and Walter Turek have committed to stabalizing the Amerks financial issues.  They have put money into the organization to help with paying NHL franchise fee’s.

They also said that talks are ongoing with an investor coming in and buying a majority stake of the franchise, that seems to be the desired outcome by all.

“I can assure you, Randy’s commitment, with Walter as his partner, will not let this franchise fail,” she said. “They have committed funding in order to make this team successful.”

The one concern that should be raised is the following:

April 7, 2006 Randall Latona and Walter Turek formed an entity called T&L Funding Group, LLC which furnished a $2.1 million dollar financing package to the Rochester Americans. Of that loan approximately $700,000 went towards additional working capital, the rest to acquire existing debt.

That was 2 years ago, are we just going to end up back in the same situation in another 2 years if the same ownership group is involved?  If $2.1 million dollars didn’t fix things then, what’s different about now?  We’ll wait and see.

Here’s the Full article:

Owners say they’ll get Amerks stabilized

Kevin Oklobzija
Staff writer

While financial peril has left the Rhinos soccer team teetering on the brink of extinction, the Rochester Americans’ ownership group promises to restore stability to the troubled hockey franchise.

Randall Latona and Walter Turek provided an infusion of operating capital this week, past-due affiliation fees will be paid next week, and a plan is in place to ensure the team’s long-term survival.

So says Lisa Latona, Randall Latona’s wife and business partner.

“I can assure you, Randy’s commitment, with Walter as his partner, will not let this franchise fail,” she said. “They have committed funding in order to make this team successful.”

The additional funding comes while the ownership group continues to work toward a majority sale to a new investor.

Latona and Turek are working on an exit strategy from their positions as major owners in the Amerks, as well as the Knighthawks lacrosse franchise.

“There is a tremendous amount of momentum toward that,” said their other partner, Steve Donner, who will remain a minority owner if the sale takes place.

Turek and Donner, both Rochesterians, each own 40 percent of the teams. Latona, a resident of Andover, Mass., owns 20 percent.

Negotiations on the buyout of Latona, and in turn Turek, are nearing a conclusion, Latona and Donner said. That buyout is contingent upon a new investor taking majority control, since his money will go to Latona and Turek.

If the new investor does assume majority control, Latona and Turek would still retain small and equal ownership shares “for at least a small period of time,” Lisa Latona said.

But she said that even if the sale to the unnamed investor falls through, the current ownership group will remain together and renew its commitment to the hockey and lacrosse teams.

“The buyout should happen quickly,” Lisa Latona said. “Randy and Walter are both looking for a resolution.

“But whether or not the new buyer comes in, Randy’s and Walter’s commitment as partners won’t change. Either they’re exiting or they’re staying and committing substantial funding.”

Latona had been somewhat of an estranged partner for much of the past year.

A failure to pay numerous bills on time, including league dues and affiliation fees, prompted Latona to file suit last spring in state Supreme Court to have Donner removed from power.

But last month he and Donner made a conscious effort to repair their relationship. Along with Turek, the trio seems to again be working in concert for the betterment of the Amerks.

Donner said negotiations to bring the new investor on board “have been really refreshing for the three of us. There has been exciting and significant progress.”

The future of the franchise doesn’t hinge on the sale, however.

“Our focus is on the sale, but we (the current ownership group) would be prepared to move forward shoulder to shoulder if necessary,” Donner said.

The money this week was for general operating expenses. All three partners will provide funding next week “to take care of some or most of the outstanding issues,” Lisa Latona said.

Foremost on that list are past-due affiliation fees to the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers. Jacques Martin, general manager and coach of the Panthers, on Wednesday expressed concern about another late payment.

Martin said the Amerks must resolve their money crisis soon, or the Panthers will place their prospects elsewhere next season. Since the Sabres have announced plans to leave Rochester after this season, Florida would be the sole parent team for the 2008-09 American Hockey League season.

Donner said once the sale is complete, the affiliation can be finalized.

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