Cynamon sets record straight

TERRY KOSHAN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

There's an idea floating around that David Cynamon and Howard Sokolowski couldn't afford to buy an NHL team, considering they took a loan when they bought the Argonauts out of bankruptcy six years ago.

Cynamon has a message: Don't buy it.

Cynamon and Sokolowski have acknowledged accepting a loan from David Braley, and more recently their names were thrust into the spotlight when court documents revealed they were interested in buying the Phoenix Coyotes.

"We didn't need any money," Cynamon said of the loan from Braley. "But why would we not take (a loan)?

"We did it because it was available to us. Braley said he would be there to help, no questions asked, and we would have been foolish not to take his offer."

Cynamon said yesterday he and Sokolowski are attracted by more than the possibility of owning the Coyotes, whose future remains cloudy after an Arizona judge rejected Jim Balsillie's bid to relocate the team to Hamilton.

"We're an interested party, but it's more of an interest in the NHL," Cynamon said. "We were caught off guard when it came out (in court filings). We have no interest in getting a team without the blessing of (NHL commissioner) Gary Bettman. We have not made a formal offer."

As for the situation with Braley, the owner of the B.C. Lions, Cynamon said the loan came only in the initial stages of his and Sokolowski's ownership of the Argos and there are no outstanding debts to Braley.

Cynamon denied that Braley took half of the profits from the 2007 Grey Cup in Toronto and said Braley did not help cover annual operating losses through last year.

Braley has no hand in Argos ownership, Cynamon said.

"What David Braley did in the early days was reduce our risk exposure, and he would help support us if losses were greater than we expected," Cynamon said. "Without that offer, we don't buy the team, and there was no one behind us in line."

About the reported involvement of Braley in the Argos' finances last year, Cynamon said it was "false."

"The league is focused on best practices and David did that with us, where we could trim, where we can be more efficient," Cynamon said. "It was nothing to do with actual finances. It was more general.

"It's accurate that he was in our office, but I had to send him a Google map to get him here."

TRANSPARENCY NEEDED

Cynamon acknowledged he and Sokolowski should have made the CFL board of governors aware of the loan from Braley.

CFL commissioner Mark Cohon has said changes should be made to the league's constitution, once the board meets again, to make matters more transparent.

"We did not break any bylaws, but that's just an easy way out," Cynamon said. "In retrospect, we should have been more transparent."

Where Cynamon gets his back up is the idea that integrity is called into question, whether it be that of the league, him and Sokolowski, or Braley.

"We're a little angry," Cynamon said. "To corner us and make us look like villains, that's where the crime is."


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