Sam Katz has good reason for not wanting anyone to know the true state of the Winnipeg Goldeyes' finances, as reported in Paul Wiecek's story (Fishing for Goldeyes's finances, Aug. 12). He is still embroiled in litigation with the receiver for the Crocus Fund over an unpaid loan (or was it an investment? No one seems to know for sure) of more than $1 million made by the Crocus Fund to the Goldeyes years ago.
Katz has refused even to pay interest on the loan (investment). In previous testimony, he has claimed he is not even required to pay any interest until such time as the Goldeyes are profitable. Thus, it is in his interest to continue the pretence the Goldeyes are unprofitable.
How can anyone honestly believe this to be true? Well, it turns out that, as previously reported by Bartley Kives in a series that he did in your paper looking at Riverside Park Management Corp., the supposed not-for-profit corporation that owns Canwest Park, the Goldeyes pay ridiculously high rent to Riverside -- something in the order of $100,000 per game. Of course, since no one is able to see the books for either the Goldeyes or Riverside, no one can know for sure where all the money the Goldeyes obviously are taking in is going. As Kives noted when he did his stories, no one at Riverside was able to explain just what it was doing with all the money it was collecting from the Goldeyes in rent.
There is even more to this story. Getting back to the original loan (investment) made by the Crocus Fund to the Goldeyes, which Katz refuses to repay, the money that was given to the Goldeyes was actually used by Katz to help his friend, David Wolinsky, who, at that time, was in deep trouble with his company, Maple Leaf Distillers. The Crocus Fund had been propping up Maple Leaf and, in evidence unearthed by the receiver for Crocus, it was shown the board of Crocus had ordered its chief financial officer (CFO) to stop putting any more money into Maple Leaf. So, the CFO turned around, gave the money to the Goldeyes, and Katz loaned it to his friend, Wolinsky.
Court records show Wolinsky repaid Katz all the money that Katz had loaned to him, but by maintaining that the Goldeyes remain unprofitable, Katz has, thus far, been able to avoid having to repay that original loan (investment?) from Crocus.
Still, this game isn't in its final innings yet. The receiver for Crocus, who is a very dogged fellow, is still engaged in litigation with the Winnipeg Goldeyes over that unpaid loan (investment). It seems likely that, if the litigation process continues, Katz may yet have to open up his books to corroborate his contention that the Goldeyes have been unprofitable.