Owners wooing Bernie

DON BRENNAN -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 7:35 AM ET

At least two prominent CFL owners have contacted Bernie Glieberman over the past seven months and encouraged the Detroit millionaire to buy into the Renegades, sources have told the Sun.

One of them, B.C.'s David Braley, has had multiple conversations with the former Ottawa Rough Riders owner, urging him to explore the opportunity.

There has also been phone interaction between league commissioner Tom Wright and Glieberman, another insider has confirmed.

Glieberman and Renegades co-majority shareholder Bill Smith have had discussions in the last few days, with negotiations believed to involve up to 50% of the team.

While there's speculation those two will ultimately wind up as partners, a deal has yet to be reached between Smith and Randy Gillies, who both own 30% of the club. And based on the twist and turns of their talks since they first considered parting ways, no one close to the scene is confident enough to predict the final outcome.

Yesterday, a conference call was held including the two men, and while progress may have been made, Smith refused to reveal details. "It's been very frustrating for me," admitted Smith. "The whole thing."

The uncertainly surrounding the ownership has surely contributed largely to slow sales in both tickets and sponsorship. Marketing of the team to date has been almost nonexistent, suggesting an unwillingness to spend money.

Meanwhile, despite the loss of a number of non-imports to free agency, GM/coach Joe Paopao should have a decent roster by the time the season begins. The 'Gades just have to get the top floor of their house in order, first.

"Whatever anybody wants to say about the Gliebermans, they have two things that no one can deny," said one insider, touching on the controversy surrounding the Rough Riders when they were owned by Bernie and his son Lonie in the early 90s. "They have passion for the CFL and they have a lot of money. That's what is needed here."


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