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Bid to buy Canucks bogged down over Olympic revenues, former partner says

But Tom Gaglardi told a B.C. Supreme Court civil trial that had he known Orca Bay's deal on October 30, 2004, was the final offer, he and his partner would have jumped at the chance to own the NHL team.

Gaglardi was testifying in a case pitting him and his partner, Ryan Beedie, against a former business partner Francesco Aquilini.

They allege he used his insider knowledge of their attempts to buy the team to undercut their bid and get a piece of the action on his own.

Aquilini denies he's done anything wrong.

Gaglardi told the judge that a series of negotiations between his crew and Orca Bay CEO Stan McCammon, the owner of the Canucks, bogged down over the company's insistence they get half of the revenues from the 2010 Olympic Games.

The demand came as they hammered out agreements on other areas like salary caps, signing bonuses and existing sponsorship deals with the franchise.

"We're six years from the Olympics, we would clearly be the owner of the building during the Olympics and the vendor is trying to suggest they should be entitled to half of the rental that's paid during the Olympics," Gaglardi said.

"That was a surprise and certainly different than what we had suggested."

In earlier testimony, Gaglardi had revealed that the Vancouver Olympic Committee had agreed to pay the owners of GM Place more than $18 million to reserve the use of the facility and $100,000 in rent for every day the stadium was in use for the Games.

Gaglardi said Monday that would have resulted in $2 million to $3 million being handed over to Orca Bay.

The demand for Olympic revenue came in a memo dated October 30, 2004, and Gaglardi testified he spent the next two days with his partner Ryan Beedie and his father trying to hammer out responses to each of McCammon's demands.

He said a trip to Los Angeles to meet with Canucks' owner John McCaw was also on the table but kept getting delayed.

Gaglardi said he had a couple of conversations with McCammon about his trip to see McCaw and reiterated he hoped a friendly deal could be struck so he and his partners could take ownership of the team.

McCammon had asked him if he was giving McCaw an ultimatum on the deal, but Gaglardi said he absolutely wasn't.

But he told the court that had he known the Oct. 30 deal would be the final offer, his team would have jumped at it.

"There's absolutely no question we would have accepted it," he said. "We were never prepared to lose the overall transaction and certainly not over the amount of money that was on the table at that point between the parties. We were simply searching for what was fair."

The team, GM place and its related assets would eventually sell for $250 million.

Gaglardi said the opportunity to own the Canucks and GM Place was "beyond a dream."

"I can't say it was a lifelong dream because I never ever thought I'd have the opportunity to own a portion of the Vancouver Canucks," he said.

"I've been a hockey fanatic and played since I was five years old and to be involved in this manner with the Canucks was something that was beyond a dream and when it became something that was attainable it became the most important thing to me."



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