Fans won't be shut out

Marc Pilon heads into the Renegades administration building at Frank Clair Stadium to remove his...

Marc Pilon heads into the Renegades administration building at Frank Clair Stadium to remove his personal belongings yesterday afternoon. The CFL has shut down the team for 2006. (Ottawa Sun/Blair Gable)

BARRE CAMPBELL -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 8:22 AM ET

The ex-majority owner of the CFL team formerly known as the Ottawa Renegades repeated a pledge yesterday that fans who bought season tickets for the 2006 season will get their cash back.

"We will refund all the money" said Bernie Glieberman from his office in Detroit. "We made that promise and we will honour that."

The big question is when fans can expect to be shown the money.

Some $850,000 in ticket revenue is gone, spent by the Renegades to keep the team in operation during the off-season.

Glieberman said he is working with consultants Phil Kershaw and John Lisowski on a plan to reimburse fans who bought tickets, and an announcement would be made "within 7-10 days" to let fans know how the money will be dispersed.

"We're working on that right now," said Kershaw from the team's office at Lansdowne Park.

At a meeting Sunday in Toronto, the CFL and its governors voted to bomb the Renegades out of the league for the 2006 season.

Glieberman, who was not part of the league's decision or its negotiations with potential buyers, said he believes it was the right move.

"I think the decision was made because there wasn't enough time for somebody to take over the team and operate it properly," he said. "We took over the team at about the same time last year, and we didn't have enough time to do it right."

Meanwhile, the league announced it will hold a dispersal draft of former Renegades players tomorrow afternoon, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats picking first.

Teams would be responsible for the registered contract of any player chosen from the Renegades roster.

The most coveted Ottawa players are quarterback Kerry Joseph, Canadian offensive lineman Ibrahim Khan, receiver Jason Armstead, defensive back Korey Banks -- who led the league in 2005 with 10 interceptions -- and backup quarterback Brad Banks, the runner-up in Heisman Trophy voting in 2002.

Talk around the league suggests Joseph will wind up calling signals for the Green Riders this season. Sources say the Ticats will either draft Joseph and deal him to Saskatchewan, or just trade the No. 1 pick to the Rough Riders.

"I'll just go to a team that has an interest in me and my services. Hopefully, that's somebody who wants me," said Canadian defensive back Donnie Ruiz, a member of the original 2002 Renegades team.

"This has been tough on all the players. Everybody wants to know what's going on. It's your job and your career, and you have no control over it. You just sit back and wait."

The mood at the team's office yesterday was dismal as staffers arrived after hearing the news Sunday.

"Everybody has been pretty stoic about it," said Kershaw. "People have known for the last 30-45 days that there was trouble in paradise."

The club will issue severance packages to administration staff.

Glieberman also confirmed he will pay the team's coaching staff through Aug. 31, even though he has no legal obligation to do so.

The only exception will be head coach John Jenkins, who will receive his full salary despite never getting a chance to coach a single game.

"John started earlier than the other coaches and his salary will be paid out in full," said Glieberman.

Glieberman also said the league has "revoked" the franchise from he and minority owner Bill Smith.

While Glieberman said he owns the team's equipment, he indicated he'd be willing to "hold on" to it and turn it over to a new owner should one be found for the 2007 season.

"I'd be willing to sit down and discuss everything with anybody who would buy the team and talk about some of the challenges and share with them some of the things that we think we didn't do properly," said Glieberman.


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