Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Scrapping in-laws in lawsuit over ownership of Jets tickets

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How far will people go to get tickets to a Jets game? At least for one group of squabbling in-laws, they're prepared to go to court.

John Longstaff has been a Jets and Moose season-ticket holder since 1973, but his sister-in-law, Darlene Gibb, and her son, Ian Gibb, claim the two season tickets Longstaff bought last year for the Jets' return to the NHL-- in the prime area of section 117 at the MTS Centre -- actually belong to them and Ian's company, Northern Plains Financial Group.

The Gibbs are suing Longstaff, asking the court in June to award them ownership of the two tickets, which a spokesman for the team owners has estimated to be worth $5,800 to $6,000 per seat annually.

In a statement of claim, Gibb's company alleges it paid Longstaff $2,000 to purchase two season tickets -- seats 3 and 4 in row 12, section 117 -- with the understanding Longstaff would transfer ownership of the tickets to Northern Plains Financial on or before April 10, 2012.

The company alleges it signed an agreement with the Jets to purchase the season tickets for a five-year period.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

The Gibbs could not be reached for comment. Longstaff declined to be interviewed about the dispute with his in-laws.

But in a statement of defence filed recently, Longstaff denied the allegations made by the company and said the tickets belong to him.

Longstaff states he has had season tickets to the Jets and Moose as far back as 1973 and never agreed to transfer ownership of the tickets to the Gibbs.

Longstaff has asked the court to dismiss the case, with his in-laws covering his legal expenses.

He alleges he agreed last year to let his sister-in-law and nephew buy a pair of tickets to 29 Jets home games that were in his name, adding the Gibbs would pay the money directly to the Jets.

He said the $2,000 allegedly paid to him by the Gibbs was paid by the Gibbs to the Jets as a security deposit.

Longstaff said the Gibbs agreed to cover the security deposit under the condition that if he died, ownership of the tickets would be transferred to the Gibbs.

Longstaff states he never agreed to transfer ownership of the tickets to the Gibbs at the end of last season and their arrangement to buy tickets was only for last season.

A trial date has not been set.

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 15, 2012 A5

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