Tampa Bay Lightning
Barrie makes payment
TAMPA - Lightning co-owner Len Barrie met a deadline to cover team financial losses. Barrie had until Monday, the first business day of the month, to pay back co-owner Oren Koules a sum of $3 million Koules paid to cover a cash call during the season. The payment has been wired. Barrie, who is under a gag order along with other involved parties by NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, wouldn't comment on the specifics of the transaction but did confirm Friday the deadline was met. "I continue to meet any obligations to the satisfaction of the league as we continue to move forward in a positive direction," Barrie said.Koules, through a team spokesman, could not confirm the transaction had been made as payment had not been received as of 6 p.m. Friday. The transfer, however, could be slowed because it is moving from Canada to the United States. In July, Barrie met with Bettman in the league's New York office, where he submitted a letter of credit worth $10 million to maintain his equal partnership in the team. By meeting the financial requirements, Barrie retained his share in the process of making major team decisions, which included all free-agent signings this month as well as the recent buyout of forward Vinny Prospal. While Koules holds the title of team CEO and governor, and General Manager Brian Lawton is responsible for all team related moves, both Koules and Barrie must sign off on all major transactions.
Reporter Erik Erlendsson can be reached at (813) 259-7835.