Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bucs' Sale Is Not Automatic after Owner's Death

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bucs' Sale Is Not Automatic after Owner's Death

Article excerpt

The death of owner Hugh Culverhouse places the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the hands of a three-member board of trustees. At the moment, the board shows no inclination to sell the team.

If they do, is St. Louis interested?

"We have not been in touch with the Bucs," said former U.S. Sen. Thomas F. Eagleton, point man for FANS Inc. "We will not be in touch with the Bucs until such time as we have sufficient indication that they are for sale."

Even if that were the case, Eagleton said, "The lease would be the same problem as it would be with the Rams. The Rams are still our first and most imminent top priority."

FANS, a non-profit group formed by Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. and County Executive George R. "Buzz" Westfall, currently has 70 percent of the stadium lease in its hands. Eagleton is negotiating with local beer distributor Jerry Clinton, who controls the other 30 percent, to gain control of the entire lease.

Eagleton met with Clinton attorney Jim Shoemake on Tuesday, and plans a meeting with Clinton and Shoemake next week.

Clinton is interested in pursuing the Buccaneers irrespective of FANS' agenda.

"We have been maintaining contact with that club and others," Clinton said. "It is my personal opinion that they will sell the team."

The third party in the St. Louis equation, Columbia, Mo., businessman Stan Kroenke, has not contacted the Bucs. Clinton and Kroenke both have talked to the Los Angeles Rams about purchasing a minority share in that club if the Rams move here.

St. Louis' main competitor for another National Football League team, Baltimore, also has had contact with the Bucs. Baltimore Orioles baseball team owner Peter Angelos, who is spearheading that city's NFL effort, has spoken with the Buccaneers, and on more than one occasion has sent personal representatives to visit the Bucs. Angelos is reported to have offered $200 million for the club before Culverhouse's death. …

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