TAMPA (CN) – The producer of the “Saw” movie series is accused of improperly contacting the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey ownership group during negotiations, causing them to rescind a sale offer. Oren Koules and his company OK Hockey LLC are accused of undercutting Koules’ putative partners, including lead plaintiff Venture Capital Group, to try to snatch the team for himself.
Venture Capital and three other plaintiffs claim they began negotiating in June to buy the hockey team from Glass Palace LLC. During negotiations, Venture Capital sought partners to form an ownership group, and was approached by Koules who wanted to join as a partner.
Venture Capital agreed to include Koules in the ownership group, and gave him privileged information regarding the deal. In exchange, Koules voluntarily executed a nondisclosure agreement regarding the terms of the deal, the suit states.
The agreement allowed Koules to use the disclosed information only to determine whether he wished to enter the ownership group. It barred Koules from discussing the terms of the transaction with Glass Palace or any former Lightning owners.
The sale was tentatively finalized on Aug. 3, and was announced four days later. The asset purchase agreement was amended on Oct. 11 and named Absolute Hockey Enterprises LLP as the owner of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
But the lawsuit claims Koules breached the nondisclosure agreement by improperly contacting the old ownership group and inducing it not to sell the team to Absolute Hockey. Glass Palace rescinded the sale on Nov. 14.
Venture Capital and Absolute Hockey seek lost profits of more than $50 million.
Plaintiffs are represented in Hillsborough County Court by Thomas Scarritt.