CORNWALL, Ontario – The saga that is the Cornwall River Kings ownership took another turn Thursday, with word coming out that Darren Madden is no longer interested in buying the team.
Brock Frost, the fourth owner in two years, issued a press release confirming the details and made a slew of accusations against Madden.
In the press release Frost, who was recently sworn in as a city councillor, suggests that Madden not only informed Ligue Nord Americaine de Hockey leadership that he no longer wants to buy the team, but also accused Madden of using the team’s credit card for personal use.
Frost released the sale agreement he and Madden reached, as well as the team’s credit card statement with transactions that took place at The Beer Store, a convenience store, a truck stop and other locales in recent days.
Frost also suggested there’s money unaccounted for from “a successful Black Saturday merchandise sale, 50/50 ticket earnings, office ticket sales, etc.”
In an interview Frost conceded Madden hasn’t done anything illegal.
“Legally he can do what he wants with the money but it clearly went to personal use and not team affairs,” he said.
Frost further went on the attack, suggesting he left the team in a stable financial position. Both he and Madden were waiting for league approval for the $40,000 sale to be finalized, though Frost made assertions that “business law” supersedes the LNAH.
“I paid all debts and bills during the time which I owned the business,” said Frost in a statement. “What Mr. Madden needs to understand is that you do not get two weeks to be pretend owner, spend the team’s money, accumulate debt and then walk away completely unscathed.
“I did not force him to buy the team, I did not force him to mortgage his house, I did not force him to use the team credit card for personal use, I did not force him to use team revenue for personal use and I did not force him to withdraw his application to the league.
“He did all of this on his own accord, plain and simple.”
Madden could not be immediately reached.
What’s unclear is who actually owns the team. Both Frost and Madden signed off on the sale of the semi-pro franchise, but the move has not yet been approved by the league.
The league is supposed to meet Monday to discuss the sale, but the waters are getting muddy.
“Darren withdrew his application on Dec. 3 on his own accord,” said Frost. “Technically I would remain as franchise owner according to the league however I am unwilling to step back into the legal ownership as Darren has accumulated a great deal of team debt.”
Frost said he confronted Madden on the matters Wednesday.
When asked about the future of the team, Frost suggested the league is likely to get involved and more ownership changes may be afoot.
“I believe there is a group of investors headed by Mitch Gagne that are looking at taking over,” he said.
Gagne and Frost discussed the purchase of the team before Madden got involved, but the talks went nowhere when neither side could agree on a price.
In an interview Gagne said putting together a deal now will be difficult.
“Obviously I’m trying and may do this,” he said, adding some investors who were interested three weeks ago have now changed their minds given some of the trades that have taken place recently, on top of the ownership drama. “Trying to round these guys up will be a challenge.
“I have been working on it. But to reach the goal, we may be short a couple of investors.”
The River Kings recently traded away forwards Nicolas Corbeil and Anthony Pittarelli along with the unsigned Ryan Hand.