Patriots' Murray searching for 'solid, local owner'

October 15, 1991|By Will McDonough | Will McDonough,Boston Globe

BOSTON -- The New England Patriots are for sale once again, providing . . .

"We will start right away looking for a new owner," Fran Murray said, "and we want it to be a solid, local owner. We want this team to go to someone who will keep it here and take good care of it."

However, before minority owner Murray and the NFL can take complete control of the Patriots from majority owner Victor Kiam, Kiam has to keep coming up short for another 30 days. That is how much time Kiam has to raise $38 million to buy out Murray. If he doesn't, he'll lose complete control of his destiny with the team.

Yesterday, Kiam reluctantly signed an agreement that puts the NFL and Murray in control of the team for the next 30 days.

"They met our demands," said Robert Popeo, attorney for Murray. "We told them we would not go to court if [the league] took control and protected the assets, and kept the team from going into bankruptcy. Kiam met those stipulations when he signed the agreement.

"The 120-day clock to sell the team is already in motion. If Kiam cannot come up with the money by Nov. 9, then Murray is completely in control and will continue to move forward in selling the team."

It is unheard of for the league to take over a team in midseason, but the NFL did not want the problem to end up in court.

No one involved expects Kiam to raise the $38 million. He has been trying to do so for the last two months, and if he cannot, he will take a major financial hit. By the terms of the agreement, when the team is sold, the first $38 million will go to Murray, who will immediately pay off his loans and continue on to St. Louis to become an integral part of that city's quest for an expansion franchise. The second distribution of money would go to the league for any fees or penalties that Kiam might owe. The remainder goes to Kiam.

Reportedly, the team must sell for about $110 million for Kiam to come out even. He reportedly purchased the team for $91 million three years ago.

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