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I mentioned on Twitter that this may be a slow week for news in #SaveTheCrew v. PSV/MLS. Well, I’m filing a motion of my own to strike that. Part of the reason for that prediction was that until we get a ruling on the reinstatement (if any) of the 90 day toll that has presumably run while the appeal was taking place, we’re still in a bit of a holding pattern as it pertains to some of the trial issues.
Apparently that isn’t holding up PSV/MLS, as they filed their initial trial witness lists. It’s important to note these are simply the first such disclosures, and is not the final set of witnesses who would testify at a trial. People may be added or subtracted from each list.
“Each list,” you may wonder? Yes, for some reason, PSV and MLS filed separate trial lists. That actually isn’t too surprising. At some point the interests of the respective parties may diverge in this suit. Eventually, MLS and the other owners may decide that PSV is not worth the trouble, and vote him out of the tribe (to use a somewhat dated reference). It’s part of the reason why I’ve questioned each party using the same set of lobbyists for this whole thing. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Let’s take a look.
MLS starts off with a helpful reminder:
Somewhat amusingly, MLS specifically felt compelled to note that they don’t concede the Modell law applies to them, nor that any of their witnesses will provide any useful information (?).
Way to disparage your own witnesses?
MLS’ witness list is pretty short for a trial of this nature.
If you’ve never seen a witness list, the main requirements are: disclosure of names, contact information and a brief (sentence or two) description of what they’ll be testifying to. MLS’ list is EXTREMELY limited, though as I mentioned, this list can be updated at a later point (and likely will). All of the expected players are listed.
The only odd thing is that the Franklin County Commissioners are not separately named. While it’s likely that all of them would be called to testify, its weird not to name each one individually. Like, really odd. Someone couldn’t go to the County Commissioner’s website and cut and paste their names? There are a whole three of them.
Anyway, that is the whole of MLS’ witness list. Let’s move on to PSV, whose pleading comes in at pretty decent-sized eight pages including intros and signature pages. I’m going to list a couple of pages at a time, and highlight some of the more interesting names. One thing to keep in mind: when PSV says that a particular witness “may have knowledge regarding Defendants’ compliance with [O]RC 9.67,” it could be discussions regarding a purchase/sale of the team, or something else entirely. Depends on who they are.
Several interesting names. First of all, Mr. Altcheck based on that description will be testifying as to some of the facts presumably supporting PSV’s contention that they’ve complied with the Modell law; specifically, the discussions regarding potential local buyers. I noted Mr. Byers, since his inclusions presumably goes back to when PSV was looking at purchasing the Crew back in 2012-2013. Mr. Enke it looks like would have information regarding potential sites for a new stadium in Columbus, while Mr. Frenette will likely be providing some historical context with the lease which is now in effect (and would be broken, if PSV/MLS move to Austin). Mr. Fischer has been heading up negotiations with PSV/MLS regarding a potential sale to local owners.
Mr. Greeley is the lobbyist heading up this effort for PSV (though he’s employed by MLS as well). Mr. Klein is the attorney leading the effort for the city of Columbus, though as the “City Attorney,” he typically doesn’t try cases. Mr. Lolli’s inclusion is interesting; why is the VP of operations for Sporting Kansas City involved in discussions over land in Ohio? Apparently he was employed with the Crew prior to taking the job with SKC.
A few more interesting name here. Ms. McKiman looks to be the point person regarding financials and a potential valuation of the Crew (though I presume expert witnesses will be called in on this point, should it get that far). Mr. Minton, like Mr. Byers above, looks to be a witness related to the original purchase of the Crew by PSV. Likewise Mr. Wagner, who is the President of Hunt Sports Group, who sold their interest in the Crew to PSV (and who I’m sure is thrilled to be dragged into this thing). Finally, Mr. Strickler’s testimony will presumably be in line with Mr. Enke regarding stadium sites.
So there are the defendant’s initial witness lists, and there are certainly some intriguing names here. As for the plaintiffs’ lists…all I can say is, “watch this space.”