WNBA Owner Insists He Can Move Team

     (CN) – The majority owner of the WNBA’s Tulsa Shock fired back at partners trying to stop him from moving to Texas, saying he has the right to move the team.
     W. Stuart Price sued majority owner William Cameron and fellow shareholders Chris Christian, Cameron Sports LLC, CB Hoops LLC, TexasOU LLC and Tulsa Pro Hoops LLC on July 20 in Tulsa County Court.
     Price sued hours after Cameron announced his intention to move the Shock to the Dallas-Fort Worth area at the end of the season. Three days later, the league’s owners unanimously approved the team’s move to the College Park Center at the University of Texas at Arlington for next season.
     Price claimed he was induced to invest $250,000 in Tulsa Pro Hoops by “unequivocal” assurances the team would remain in Tulsa, subject to an anti-dilution provision in place. He claimed Tulsa Pro Hoops never informed him about additional membership units being issued or capital contributions made. Price also contends he is being denied access to the team’s books.
     The defendants filed an answer and several counterclaims on Aug. 27. They claim Price is not a member in good standing because he “failed to support” the team by “failing to make over $145,000 in capital contributions” under the operating agreement.
     “Further, defendants state that delinquent member plaintiff Price was given notice of the meeting at which relocation was discussed but chose not to attend,” the 14-page answer states. “The operating agreement speaks for itself and states in Section 6.6 the TPH board may ‘relocate the team to a new geographic playing location outside of the Tulsa area.'”
     The original plaintiffs claim that Price “has not complied with the statutory prerequisites to being a derivative claim” under state law and that any such claim should be dismissed. They also claim that Price failed to meet capital calls after his $250,000 investment, but that Cameron Sports at CB Hoops contributed more than $2.5 million to team operations after their initial investment.
     Shortly after suing, Price said Cameron is “ripping the heart” out of Tulsa. He said Cameron “deliberately plotted for some time” to move the team to Texas.
     “In my opinion, Bill Cameron set us up,” Price said at the time. “Quite frankly, I’m sorry to say, Bill Cameron, who is a friend of mine, is a big liar. I think we have been wronged in a lot of respects and I think it will play itself out during the litigation.”
     In announcing the move, Cameron thanked local investors “who stepped up at a critical time” to help him move the Shock from Detroit in 2010.
     “This is a very difficult decision, and I know it is particularly difficult for the Tulsa investors,” Cameron said. “From a business perspective, it was necessary to evaluate options to place the team and the organization in the best position to achieve financial success. After a thorough review, I believe the Dallas-Fort Worth area holds the greatest potential to achieve our long-term business objectives.”
     The defendants are represented in their answer and counterclaim by Mary Quinn Cooper with McAfee Taft in Tulsa.

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