Golden 'Gades?

CFL commissioner Tom Wright (Sun File Photo)

CFL commissioner Tom Wright (Sun File Photo)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 12:41 PM ET

TORONTO businessman Ernest Anderson is kicking the tires, but he may not be the saviour fans of the Ottawa Renegades are waiting for.

Anderson owns the Toronto operation of Golden Gate Capital and runs a subsidiary office in Mississauga. Golden Gate Capital deals in mutual funds, personal and corporate mortgages, and insurance.

The firm has several offices in the GTA and recently opened a bureau on Moodie Dr. in Ottawa. It also runs satellite operations in Quebec City and two locations in the U.S.

Anderson did not return phone calls from the Sun yesterday, but Anthony Primerano of Golden Gate confirmed the company's interest in the Renegades.

"We are overwhelmed by the public and media interest in Golden Gate's preliminary discussions with the Canadian Football League on the acquisition of the Ottawa Renegades," Primerano said in an e-mail sent to the Sun.

"It is, however, very early in the process and much too premature to predict the outcome of our discussions. Any potential involvement will have to be right for the people of Ottawa, the CFL and our company."

One report yesterday said the fate of the Renegades depended on the bid from Golden Gate. But a league source said it's unlikely Golden Gate will buy the team. The CFL says several "organizations" are examining a takeover of the Renegades.

"As we go forward, I am committed to providing our fans in Ottawa-Gatineau with information on the state of their team as soon as we are able to do so," said CFL commissioner Tom Wright in a statement issued by the league last night directed specifically at Renegades fans.

Wright said a decision on the club's future would be "forthcoming by mid-month."

It remains possible that the Renegades could operate in 2006 if a buyer is soon found. But if a buyer isn't found, the league would likely operate with eight teams.

That prospect is attractive to some potential buyers who want to move the Renegades to another city, notably Quebec City, for 2007.

But time is running short on the prospects of the team playing at Frank Clair Stadium this year.

Even if a deal in completed within the next week, getting a team ready won't be a slam dunk.

Training camps begin in a little more than six weeks and the league's college draft will be held April 20. It's believed several CFL teams are preparing for a dispersal draft of Renegades.

The team's football operations staff, led by GM Forrest Gregg and coach John Jenkins, insists the football side is ready to go.

barre.campbell@ott.sunpub.com


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