Moyes’ lawyers apologize for ‘error’ that led to release of confidential info

PHOENIX – Lawyers for Phoenix Coyotes owner Jerry Moyes have apologized for what they say was a mistake that led to the public filing of information that should have been confidential.

A response filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court says lawyer Peter Sorensen had intended to file the document under seal as confidential but failed to do so. The Moyes response says Sorensen realized his mistake after about an hour when a reporter called to ask about the material. The material was then removed from the public record.

Judge Redfield T. Baum had ordered Moyes and his lawyers to show cause why they should not be held in contempt of court for allowing the material to be made public.

The sensitive material was part of an appendix to Moyes’ objection to the proposed sale of the team to a group headed by Jerry Reinsdorf, owner of baseball’s Chicago White Sox and the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.

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The appendix contained details of negotiations between Reinsdorf’s representatives and the city of Glendale. The city expressed outrage that the material became public and said the incident led Reinsdorf to consider withdrawing his bid.

A hearing on several outstanding issues is scheduled next Tuesday after Baum this week ordered the Sept. 10 auction of the team open to all bidders, whether they would keep the franchise in Glendale or relocate it.

The judge specifically said Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie could submit his US$212.5-million bid to buy the team and move it to Hamilton.

The NHL board of governors has unanimously rejected Balsillie’s application for ownership, but the Canadian is expected to fight that decision in court.

Reinsdorf has offered $148 million to buy the team and keep it in Glendale but he wants a reworked lease agreement with the city.

A third potential buyer, Ice Edge, has yet to submit a bid.