Suit: Hicks misdirected millions from team

Aug. 16, 2011 at 2:12 PM
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DALLAS, Aug. 16 (UPI) -- Former Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks misdirected tens of millions of dollars from the team to acquire what are now profitable parking lots, a lawsuit claims.

The lawsuit, filed Monday by the team's post-bankruptcy administrator, accuses Hicks of using money from the franchise to acquire the lots near Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and Cowboys Stadium, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Hicks also forced the Rangers to spend at least $18 million on parking lots and roads instead of financing deferred compensation for players, as required by Major League Baseball, said Alan Jacobs, the administrator charged with disbursing assets from the bankruptcy sale,

A total of $30.5 million was misdirected, according to lawsuit, filed in the 116th state District Court in Dallas.

The suit says financial statements released by Hicks hid a funding shortfall.

The Star-Telegram said Hicks' Ballpark Real Estate takes in several million dollars a year in parking revenue near Cowboys Stadium and could be worth an additional $100 million "if Hicks is successful in extorting additional parking revenue from the Texas Rangers' new owner and the team's fans."

Hicks spokeswoman Lisa LeMaster labeled the lawsuit's claims baseless and pointed to a "bizarre flip-flop" by the Rangers' major creditors, including hedge funds that bought the team's debt.

"We welcome the opportunity to challenge these allegations in court," LeMaster said.

The Rangers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May 2010 while Hicks owned the team after his company defaulted on bank loans. The team was sold in 2010 for $593 million in a bankruptcy auction to a group including Nolan Ryan, the Hall of Fame pitcher.

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