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Vinik Gets Show Of Local Support

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Vinik Gets Show Of Local Support

From The St. Petersburg Times

In late 2007, Tom Scarritt and fellow Tampa attorney Steve Burton tried, but failed, to for man investment group to buy the Lightning from Palace Sports & Entertainment.

Though Scarritt said he has concerns about the lack of local ownership after OK Hockey this month sold the team to Boston hedge fund manager Jeff Vinik, he believes the bay are a business community is behind Vinik. 

"After two years of financial irresponsibility, management dysfunction and poor choices, I believe the business community, as well as the Tampa Bay community in general, are delighted to have Mr. Vinik buy the team," Scarritt wrote in an e-mail.

"He has a reputation for being a risk-taker, and he has certainly taken one here. However, he also has a reputation for letting his managers manage and coaches coach, which will be a refreshing and much-needed change."

Scarritt ,53, was the attorney for Doug Maclean and Jeff Sherrin, who in November 2007 sued Oren Koules, their former partner in Absolute Hockey Enterprises, for $50 million after a failed attempt to buy the team. The suit was settled out of court.

 Scarritt said he and Burton then were facilitators in an attempt to bring together local businessmen and some out-of­t owners to buy the team that eventually went to Koules, Len Barrie and six minor investors.

"There is some concern about the lack of local ownership now,"Scarritt wrote. "Local investors with whom we spoke had an interest in participating, which decreases the chances of the team being moved to some other city. Otherwise, I believe the business community embraces Mr. Vinik."

Vinik has said moving the team isn't "on my radar."

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