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Stern to NHLPA on Levitt:"can't imagine a person of more reliability on economics.."

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Old
02-20-2004, 11:30 PM
  #26
lakings87
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Originally Posted by CH
Nobody impartial has ever been shown the NHL books. Ever wonder why that is?
Actually there was a Kings fan last season that was allowed to see the books on the Kings and found out Management wasn't lying when they mentioned that they lost around 90 million I think, so maybe it is going that bad for the NHL if it was for the Kings who knows.

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02-20-2004, 11:44 PM
  #27
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You can find the financial findings of the Kings fan at letsgokings.com
I suggest you go and visit, it is VERY informative.

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02-21-2004, 01:32 PM
  #28
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Originally Posted by go kim johnsson
is it me or is the NBA getting involved with the NHL CBA? Very intersting since the NBA will reep all the benefits of a lockout..
Something tells me the NBA really isnt worried about competition from the NHL. The PBA isnt even worried about competition from the NHL.

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02-21-2004, 01:41 PM
  #29
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Originally Posted by lakings87
Actually there was a Kings fan last season that was allowed to see the books on the Kings and found out Management wasn't lying when they mentioned that they lost around 90 million I think, so maybe it is going that bad for the NHL if it was for the Kings who knows.

Am I to understand that you honestly believe that a hockey team can lose roughly 2 times their entire payroll in a single season?

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02-21-2004, 01:51 PM
  #30
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Originally Posted by CH
Am I to understand that you honestly believe that a hockey team can lose roughly 2 times their entire payroll in a single season?
No its all lies. The NHL isnt losing any money. The teams have equiped certain seats with cloaking devices to hide people so they can show lower attendance figures. They bribed Nielson to attach boxes to TVs of people who do not like hockey to reduce TV ratings. They even paid Levitt to jeopardize his reputation to fake loses.

I honestly believe its the greatest conspriacy in the history of the universe.

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02-21-2004, 02:54 PM
  #31
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iagreewithidiots
No its all lies. The NHL isnt losing any money. The teams have equiped certain seats with cloaking devices to hide people so they can show lower attendance figures. They bribed Nielson to attach boxes to TVs of people who do not like hockey to reduce TV ratings. They even paid Levitt to jeopardize his reputation to fake loses.

I honestly believe its the greatest conspriacy in the history of the universe.

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02-21-2004, 03:03 PM
  #32
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Originally Posted by iagreewithidiots
No its all lies. The NHL isnt losing any money. The teams have equiped certain seats with cloaking devices to hide people so they can show lower attendance figures. They bribed Nielson to attach boxes to TVs of people who do not like hockey to reduce TV ratings. They even paid Levitt to jeopardize his reputation to fake loses.

I honestly believe its the greatest conspriacy in the history of the universe.

Isn't there a ton of middle ground between those two positions?

Likely thats where reality lies.

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02-21-2004, 04:59 PM
  #33
lakings87
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Originally Posted by CH
Am I to understand that you honestly believe that a hockey team can lose roughly 2 times their entire payroll in a single season?
No they lost 90 million ever since AEG took over, remember this report was done by a guy who didn't believe the Kings finances were as bad as they were saying, boy was he proven wrong.

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02-21-2004, 10:02 PM
  #34
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Originally Posted by CH
I most definitely have read the report. And I'm sure there is plenty of wiggle room in the accounting to adjust the profit or losses of the NHL by hundreds of millions of dollars.
If you are sure there is this wiggle room, I'm sure you'll be kind enough to point to where it might be?

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02-21-2004, 10:38 PM
  #35
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Originally Posted by CH
I most definitely have read the report. And I'm sure there is plenty of wiggle room in the accounting to adjust the profit or losses of the NHL by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Thanks, I needed a good laugh today!!!!

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02-21-2004, 10:40 PM
  #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discostu
If you are sure there is this wiggle room, I'm sure you'll be kind enough to point to where it might be?
nowhere.


isn't illegal to disclose false accounting statements?

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02-21-2004, 11:07 PM
  #37
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I haven't read the report yet.

But, I have been reading a book called "Next:The Future Just Happened". Anywho, it doesn't exactly inspire confidence in Levitt.

It paints Levitt as someone who may well trust in his subordinates and might not know the full details. Even while going on record as knowing all of the details. Not saying that is the case here, just found it interesting

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02-21-2004, 11:40 PM
  #38
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Levitt is former SEC chairman.......trust me, I'm sure he is more than capable of producing an legitimate Unqualified Report.

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02-22-2004, 01:09 AM
  #39
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Originally Posted by discostu
If you are sure there is this wiggle room, I'm sure you'll be kind enough to point to where it might be?
I do not claim to be an accountant or an accounting expert - but it is quite clear that it is common practise in the accounting field to aggressively report things so as to best fit the bottom line your client would like to see presented. In many places this is all completely legal.

Its not nearly as clear that any two accountants would approach the exact same scenario and come to the exact same conclusion on the same events.

The NHL hired Levitt and Levitt likely using legal practises game them the bottom line that best suited their needs.

Want some links on aggressive accounting? Here are some

http://www.theonlineinvestor.com/inv...=ig_aggressive

http://finance.pro2net.com/x33653.xml

http://www.aicpa.org/pubs/jofa/may2000/opinion.htm

http://commdocs.house.gov/committees...hba79559_0.HTM

I doubt Levitt did anything illegal. But that still leaves plenty of wiggle room in the bottom line he came up with.

The fact nobody without interest in making it appear the NHL is doing poorly financially has ever been given access to the books is very suspicious.

The fact you blindly accept the word of the NHL when they have misrepresented their financial situation since day one displays a lack of critical thinking skills.

Do you really think multi-millionares get to be multi-millionares by hemmoraging money?

Do you think it is a coincidence that the NHL pleads poverty when the CBA comes up for re-negotiation?

Isn't this all too unbelievable for you?

Fact is non-sports fans laugh at the idea the NHL owners are hard done by, losing millions of dollars each year. And yet you accept in uncritically.

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02-22-2004, 07:35 AM
  #40
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Originally Posted by CH
I doubt Levitt did anything illegal. But that still leaves plenty of wiggle room in the bottom line he came up with.

The fact nobody without interest in making it appear the NHL is doing poorly financially has ever been given access to the books is very suspicious.

The fact you blindly accept the word of the NHL when they have misrepresented their financial situation since day one displays a lack of critical thinking skills.
I find it interesting you say you are not an accoutant yet because you read a couple websites you now know the Levitt report cant be correct.

If you want to use critical thinking skills look at the payrolls, attendance, and tv ratings and tell me teams arent losing money.

Blindly accept what the NHL is saying? You say they have misrepresented their situation from day one. Sounds like you are making blind accusations.


Do I really think multi-millionares get to be multi-millionares by hemmoraging money?

No they certainly dont. They get broke by hemmoraging money. And plenty of millionaires have gone broke. I also think many multi millionaires have gotten to be multi millionaires because their daddy was.


Do I think it is a coincidence that the NHL pleads poverty when the CBA comes up for re-negotiation?

No its pretty obvious there are teams losing money.


Isn't this all too unbelievable for you?

You talking about your post or the CBA situation?


Fact is non sports fans dont care about the NHL. Fact is non sports fans wouldnt know enough to form an educated opinion. Fact is it makes no difference if non sports fans laugh cause they arent going to the games anyway. And yet you think it matters. Not to be critical.

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02-22-2004, 08:52 AM
  #41
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH
I do not claim to be an accountant or an accounting expert - but it is quite clear that it is common practise in the accounting field to aggressively report things so as to best fit the bottom line your client would like to see presented. In many places this is all completely legal.
It's quite clear you have no knowlege in this area, and it's pretty much impossible for me to take your opinion seriously.

In the initial thread that this report was announced, I requested the more skeptical fans on the board to identify some of the potential areas where they think there is sufficient room to manipulate the net income. So far, no one has stepped forward.

I have read, and more important, understood the report. Levitt has closed off many of the avenues to manipulate net income. He's taken depreciation out of the picture. He's developed a methodology for addressing transfer payments between the team and the arena. He's even addressed the level of personal use of business assets in his press conference.

If people want to remain skeptical, that's their perogative. If any knowledgable fans are still skeptical, I'd be curious of where they think the owners are hiding the money in this report, since I can't see it.

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02-22-2004, 10:39 AM
  #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by discostu
He's even addressed the level of personal use of business assets in his press conference.
Also, quite a few of these owners own their arena, which means more expanses.

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02-22-2004, 11:09 AM
  #43
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Originally Posted by craig1
Levitt is former SEC chairman.......trust me, I'm sure he is more than capable of producing an legitimate Unqualified Report.
While he may well be the Chairman of the SEC. But as illustrated by this extract from the book I was refering too.

I'll leave it up to others to decide if it has any relevance.

Quote:
Finally, I thought that by talking to me (Levitt) or any other journalist about Jonathan Lebed when he didn't really understand himself what Jonathan Lebed had done, the chairman of the S.E.C. displayed a disturbing faith in the media to buy whatever he was selling.
Source: http://www.cs.brown.edu/people/rbb/risd/Lebed.html

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02-22-2004, 12:03 PM
  #44
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Originally Posted by iagreewithidiots

Blindly accept what the NHL is saying? You say they have misrepresented their situation from day one. Sounds like you are making blind accusations.

One very well documented book that shows the NHL has misrepresented their financial situation since day one is the book Net Worth by David Cruise.

Have you read it?

Its published in 1991 but shows how they misrepresented their financial situation up to that point.

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02-22-2004, 12:17 PM
  #45
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CH
One very well documented book that shows the NHL has misrepresented their financial situation since day one is the book Net Worth by David Cruise.

Have you read it?

Its published in 1991 but shows how they misrepresented their financial situation up to that point.
The NHL hasn't been claiming poverty since the CBA is about to expire. They started losing money in 1999 and it has been a free fall since then.

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02-22-2004, 01:10 PM
  #46
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Originally Posted by IslesJack
The NHL hasn't been claiming poverty since the CBA is about to expire. They started losing money in 1999 and it has been a free fall since then.

Actually the NHL has been claiming they have been losing money almost consistently since 1917. But it gets much louder when a new bargaining agreement needs negoatiation.

This is not uncommon. It happens whenever any union needs to negotiate a new contract in just about any area of business.

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02-22-2004, 01:11 PM
  #47
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Originally Posted by discostu
It's quite clear you have no knowlege in this area, and it's pretty much impossible for me to take your opinion seriously.

Stu, you should follow up some of the great links CH provided. It may fill in some context for the blanks you are asking qualifications for. I found the links very enlightening, thanks CH.

It is unfair to ask us to explain the complex world of high finance, and break down the mistakes in how they have costed their complex derivatives in order to prove the report is not truly representative of the actual situation. To come to the conclusion that because we are unable to do this for you after you have read the report is not fair. If that is the test you are applying as your critical thinking, you will come to the conclusion you are looking for.

Im sure one of the first things that struck you as you were reading this compared to all the other similar documents in other industries was the startling lack of footnotes. When was the last time you read an annual report without detailed footnotes.

But you are right, this is not an annual report. It is not a document that the financial community will notice or demand accountability for. None of the Owners bankers are suddenly going to say, Oh my goodness, we better lower their credit rating. No auditor procedures are being followed or violated because it is not a legally accountable audit. It is a report to management form their consultant

Here was one interesting quote from one of CH's links
Quote:
Subjective Accounting Or Fraud?
April 11, 2002 (Strategic Finance) — Investors are punishing stocks and bonds of companies whose financial statements even hint of flawed or opaque numbers. In many cases, the accounting methodologies are complex. They may also be indecipherable. But they're not necessarily illegal, inaccurate, or fraudulent. That's because the complexity of corporate accounting has grown exponentially, along with the intricacies of many companies' operational and financial structures. What were once simple and objective concepts, like sales and earnings, in many cases have become complicated and subjective. Financial accounting is increasingly becoming an art of estimation and judgment.

Quote:
"The argument that honesty is the best policy does not work in such markets, since firms would not be around in the future to reap the benefits of their honesty, wrote Harvard University professors Andre Shleifer and Gene D'Avolio, along with Efi Gildor of Gildor Trading, in a research paper last year.
The bottom line is there's a lot more open to interpretation when it comes to the bottom line, and now investor confidence is weakening because of it.
Is the chairman of the SEC more trsutworthy than a professor at Harvard?

The whole premise of questioning Levitts credibility is exactly the distraction Bettman must have been hoping for. We are missing the point focusing on his personal credibility. Im sure Mr Levitt is an honourable old grampa with a noteable track record. It isnt the point. Levitt even wrote a book called "Take on the Street: what wall street and corp america dont want you to know / what you can do to fight back". Maybe we should read it and follow some of Levitts own advice against him

Its not even that they may be losing money. Again we are being distracted from the proper focus. Even if they are losing money, why are they losing money? Did the report say why? Did it explain why it dismissed certain conclusions.

Maybe Levitt should get some of his corproate raider buddies to come in and set these apparently poorly managed teams straight.

Are these numbers an annual trend, or a one time result of the cumulative mistakes made during the first 10 years of the CBA when they were still learning how to use it?

Is St louis losing money because they are spending 20mil on Pronger and Weight, while Ottawa spends 20 mil on Hossa, Chara, Havlat, Spezza, Redden, Chara, Volchenkov, Rachunek, Schaefer?


Are owners using increasing franchise value to guarantee debt in their other businesses saving millions a year on the money markets by using his teams cash flows in a way that doesnt legally need to be reported as team revenue?

What about intangibles. Was there a figure for intangible assets? How is he amortizing them?

What about owner salaries and management fees. If they are making 5 mil in salary, 3 mil in interest income (from money they lent their teams even though they didnt need it, and have no intention of paying off but rather will collect interest forever), 2 mil from cross company borrowing and money management through risk hedging derivatives, and appreciating their asset by 2%, all while reporting no profit, are owners fairly to be said losing money? Where are their currency derivative incomes listed. Surely there was a value added from their risk hedging devices. And what of insurance. Was that line item reported.

Didnt include depreciation? You cant just ignore this, this is huge. How they account for this can affect the financial statements by millions of dollars.

Why do they all have the following items listed before accounting for profits and how much do they add up to:
-Loans to owners and family members
-loans from owners and family members
-Non hockey related debt
-deferred revenues
-NHL CBA Fund
-payments over $25,000 to affiliated entities. (How many payments under $25,000 were made?)


When are they recording their season ticket revenue earnings. Has the treatment of affiliated party income has been reasonably counted. Levitts own instruction to management on counting affiliated revenue say:

a) the basis of allocation shoud be based on managements best estimate of the economic reality

b) it shoud be consistent with previous [unaudited] reporting.

Why are the present value of contract buyouts counted as an operating expense this year. even though they are generally expensed in full when the decision is made?


Levitt says Basketball revenue is solely operating revenue and he counts hockey revenue differently. What percentage is operating revenue of overall revenue?

Related revenue is only counted if the affiliated company owns 50% of the team. If the company is owned by a minority shareholder owning only 49% of the team, its revenue apparently can fairly not be counted as team revenue. How many owners have minority partners doing this?

Here was an interesting statement from the Levitt report reagarding Basketball revenue:

Quote:
Because the value of the local broadcast agreement between the knicks and MSG could not be readily ascertained ... similarly with regard to signage ... does not reflect an attempt to allocate income .. based on any set standard, but rather is an agreement reached through negotiations.

With respect to the NFL, it is difficult to make a meaningful comparison between the URO treatment .... the NFL infrequently confronts affiliated accounting issues because few NFL teams owners own the stadium in which their team plays.
He then goes on to compare basketball and football with hockey and comes to the conclusion it is a treadmill to obscurity.


Why are league wide costs as a percentage of revenue even being discussed. They are 30 individual businesses with their own individual needs as Levitt pointed out. As he says, they are 30 different businesses, with different histories and unique business arrangements. Different ownership structures, financing arrangements, contract terms with municiapalities, sponsorship and media arrangements. And yet the goal of the UROs is include all revenues and expenses and come to one conclusion. One conclusion is meaningless, we need 30. The league isnt a single business with a single revenue expense figure. It is meaningless to even report it this way.

or how about these quotes from a US Congrees committee CH provided
Quote:
Mr. Chairman, we meet today to learn more about the problems in corporate accounting practices. Although this matter has attracted considerable media attention in recent months, I have held serious reservations about the reliability of certain corporate accounting practices for some time. These problems could also have potentially serious and negative consequences on our country's flourishing capital markets. After all, if investors cannot trust the reliability of the numbers produced by corporate accountants in audited statements, then they might as well spend their hard-earned money on lottery tickets.
...
Unfortunately, the failure to implement GAAP consistently has now led to an almost daily discovery of accounting irregularities at American corporations. This evolving situation has also sparked a crisis of confidence that continues to ripple through our capital markets

Unfortunately, Enron was not an isolated incident. ... Even expert investors, such as those working for public pensions funds, cannot make good choices when the financial information provided is less than truthful. If the market can't trust financial information validated by supposedly independent corporate auditing firms, our free market system of trade is in great danger

One, the use of questionable accounting practices and the degree of management discretion that is involved in reporting results of operations that have led to financial statement restatements; and second, the circumstances surrounding reports of accounting problems at the following companies: Xerox, Adelphia, Dynegy, AOL and WorldCom, and whether these problems at these companies are further reflected in other publicly traded companies.
We might add, things that happened under Clintons political appointee Levitts watch over the SEC.

And the companies under question are disproprotionately represented by companies owning hockey teams. They couldnt possibly be lying to us hockey fans like they did their shareholders and auditors, right?

Ohios public pension funds lost much money in the Enron debacle. The Senators went bankrupt from it. Although Bettman would have us believe it was player salary problems, ohio didnt blame it on public service salary costs. How many other teams have similar bad investment losss. Oh wait, i dont see any accounting of that in the Levitt report.

here was another great quote from the Congress sub committee
Quote:
These examples you have asked me to address, and that I have described very briefly, illustrate that financial reporting requires many subjective judgments and seasoned judgments. Those that are generally unfamiliar with the detailed aspects of preparing financial statements are sometimes surprised at the inherent ambiguity and subjectivity of that process. Although financial statements contain and convey the appearance of great precision, many significant amounts contained therein are inherently imprecise. The inherent subjectivity provides opportunities for management to bias and for bias to intrude on the financial reporting process.

Management discretion can be abused, and financial reports can be misstated. As pressure increases on management to achieve earnings and other financial goals, the motivation to bias information presented in financial statements increases. Many of the elements of our financial reporting system that are currently in place are designed, in my view, to limit such discretion. Financial reporting standards, the auditing function, the regulatory function, and the system of corporate governance that we put in place should each contribute to attaining this goal. Those aspects of financial reporting do not lend themselves, in my view, to easy solution.

It is not sufficient, in my view, to adopt some simplistic approach, such as an unbending obedience to conservatism, and charge all expenditures about which there is any doubt of realization to expense immediately. Systemic conservatism itself introduces bias into the securities market, and generally unbiased information is considered to be of greater value.

Financial statements are the responsibility of the company. The auditor also has substantial responsibilities for those statements, and those responsibilities today, in my view, require that the auditor consider the substance of the transaction in evaluating whether financial statements may be materially misstated. The inherent subjectivity of many decisions, however, precludes a singular interpretation of the substance of many transactions. The auditor cannot insist, on pain of a qualified or adverse opinion, that the client use accounting principles that the auditor considers preferable today as long as those used by the client are generally acceptable in the circumstances and appropriately meet other criteria. This has led on occasion to the alleged use of least common denominator accounting principles. The importance of and need for objectivity by all of those that are involved in the financial reporting process, I think, are self-evident as a result of this discussion.

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02-22-2004, 03:08 PM
  #48
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Originally Posted by CH
One very well documented book that shows the NHL has misrepresented their financial situation since day one is the book Net Worth by David Cruise.

Have you read it?

Its published in 1991 but shows how they misrepresented their financial situation up to that point.
Thats 1991 this is 2004. I dont care if every word is true things are much different today. Payroll has sky rocketed since then.

My question still is how do you not believe the Levitt report but want me to believe a book thats just a little out of date.

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02-22-2004, 03:52 PM
  #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iagreewithidiots
Thats 1991 this is 2004. I dont care if every word is true things are much different today. Payroll has sky rocketed since then.

My question still is how do you not believe the Levitt report but want me to believe a book thats just a little out of date.

What I want to know how he believe's Bob Goodenows WORD, let me see that again WORD and public fights when the NHL has DOCUMENTS, has the information on paper from the URO's. Not only that, but then they go out and have Arthur Levitt do the reports to find only the same finances?

It is ridiculous. Bob Goodenow has to start these public fights for a reason, CH.

There is a reason why he won't come to the negotiation table yet. Why is he hesitant to work on a new CBA and get this done? Because he knows what the problems are and won't get any compromise unless he waits until the eleventh hour.

If aren't any great financial loses then why on October 1st did the union make an offer of a 5% pay decrease across the board? This itself shows there are loses and the union knows the reports are legit.

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02-22-2004, 04:50 PM
  #50
CH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iagreewithidiots
Thats 1991 this is 2004. I dont care if every word is true things are much different today. Payroll has sky rocketed since then.

My question still is how do you not believe the Levitt report but want me to believe a book thats just a little out of date.
This book (which you havent read have you?) is very well researched and footnoted. I can and have followed up many of its claims.

The disturbung thing is it shows a pattern of behaviour for the NHL. There is no sign whatsoever that this pattern has ended.

I do not claim to know exactly what the NHL's true financial position is, but I have shown that there is strong reason to doubt that it is what they say it is. It has never been as bad as they say it is.

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