Watson says Senators asked for city to fund arena; Team denies
Published Wednesday, November 28, 2018 4:57PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 28, 2018 6:26PM EST
The Ottawa Senators asked the city of Ottawa to fund an arena for the team on LeBreton Flats, the mayor said Wednesday.
Jim Watson said that early on in talks about the LeBreton bid, the Senators asked the city to pay for an arena on the undeveloped land just west of downtown.
“They had a whole list of requirements they wanted, including that the city pay for an arena," Watson said. "I said that’s just not on, and they moved on from that once they understood where I stood and where the city stood.”
Senators chief operating officer Nicolas Ruszkowski called the mayor's comments "disappointing and inaccurate."
“At City Hall’s own urging, the partners in RLG took part in preliminary discussions that were characterized as strictly exploratory," he said in a statement. "In that context, numerous options for the development of the site were discussed; including, for instance, the adoption of Edmonton’s arena development model. When informed that this was impossible, RLG moved on. At no time did CSMI or Eugene Melnyk demand the City build an arena.”
Watson says he told the negotiating team "we're not in the business of subsidizing professional hockey teams or arenas."
The developments are the latest in the growing dispute over the parcel of land, which is owned by the National Capital Commission.
"At the end of the day the NCC is going to have to make a decision do we carry on with this, and I think that's highly unlikely because you obviously can't have a partnership when you're suing one another." said Watson.
Capital Sports Management Inc., a group controlled by Senators owner Eugene Melnyk, filed a $700 million lawsuit against Trinity and its head, John Ruddy, "seeking damages arising out of a failed joint venture between Trinity and CSMI."
CSMI alleges that Ruddy had a conflict of interest in pursuing another development on a nearby piece of land.
None of the allegations has been proven in court. Ruddy has said he disputes the allegation and intends to vigorously defend himself.