Bucs trustee in town, meets with Angelos

January 06, 1995|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,Sun Staff Writer

Amid signs that the sale of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers may be heading for a resolution -- or one-year suspension -- a top team official met last night with Peter Angelos in Baltimore.

Steve Story, one of three trustees who is operating the team, met with Angelos in an unannounced negotiating session, according to a source familiar with the talks, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Neither Angelos nor a team spokesman was available for comment late last night. Angelos, the managing partner of the Orioles, is negotiating to buy the Buccaneers and move them to Baltimore.

Earlier yesterday, Angelos, who has been preparing a bid for several weeks, said he is not sure if he will submit it today or wait until later. He previously has offered $200 million for the team.

"We're working on it. We're not sitting here doing nothing," he said.

Meanwhile, team officials said yesterday that head coach Sam Wyche will be back next year, fueling speculation that the trustees -- who have been disappointed with the progress of bidding -- may take the team off the market soon.

The only official bid received, a $150 million offer from a group headed by executives of the Outback Steakhouse chain, expires Monday. Several other potential bidders, including New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and developer George Lindemann, are considering making offers as soon as today.

Two sources familiar with the team's sale, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the trustees have privately indicated they may decide this weekend to stop their efforts for a year. A third source dismissed the notion as pressure designed to solicit bids.

The trustees did little to settle the matter when they announced that Wyche -- whose 50th birthday was yesterday -- would remain next season if they still owned the team.

"It is obvious that this situation could be affected by the sale of the Buccaneers," the trustees said, adding that they would encourage the new owners to retain Wyche, who coached the team to its 12th straight season of 10 losses or more.

One potential bidder, who hopes to keep the team in Tampa, said that aging Tampa Stadium was a problem for potential bidders.

"I don't see how anyone can make a meaningful offer without knowing what Tampa is going to do with the stadium," said the investor, whospoke on the condition of anonymity.

He said the problem amounted to a catch-22, with bidders unable to bid until they know what kind of facility the team will have, and political leaders reluctant to press for stadium funding until they know who will own the team.

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