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Tampa Bay-Lakeland
Business Observer Friday, Jun. 25, 2010 12 years ago

Ex-Storm owners face lawsuit

The former Arena Football League team owners are set for a legal battle.

While the Arena Football League's Tampa Bay Storm takes to the field at the St. Pete Times Forum this weekend, another battle between the team's former owners is set to kick off in a nearby courtroom in downtown Tampa.

Pigskin LLC, an entity controlled by Dr. Robert Nucci, filed a lawsuit Friday in Hillsborough County Circuit Court against former Storm owner Peter “Woody” Kern and current coach Tim Marcum. The AFL is also named as a defendant, along with the team's current ownership group, Tampa Bay Storm Partners LLC.

Nucci, who bought the local AFL franchise from Kern for $19 million in 2007, claims in a 50-page complaint that Kern and Marcum were aware of the AFL's troubled financial situation but did not disclose that information during sale negotiations. He terms the league as “a disguised Ponzi scheme” that has never turned a profit, adding that the current version of the Storm is a “counterfeit” of the team he bought.

The AFL canceled its 2009 season and filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy, citing excessive player salaries amid the recession, but reorganized and resumed play this year. The Storm has a home game scheduled Saturday night at the Forum versus the Bossier-Shreveport (La.) Battle Wings.

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