RIM boss wants to grill Gary

LANCE HORNBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:48 AM ET

There will be no fun in the sun today as the next chapter of the Phoenix Coyotes saga plays out in an Arizona bankruptcy court.

After another set of motions and NHL objections, Judge Redfield T. Baum will hear arguments by the league to exclude Canadian Jim Balsillie's $212.5 million US bid to move the team to Hamilton because he's been declared an undesirable owner by the league for previous attempts to join the lodge.

Meanwhile, Balsillie and current owner Jerry Moyes will be pressing Baum to let their lawyers loose on league commissioner Gary Bettman and deputy Bill Daly, to ask specifically why Balsillie has been ostracized.

It's believed one of Balsillie's points will be the league gave him initial approval as an owner years ago during an earlier attempts to secure the Pittsburgh Penguins and Nashville Predators.

As it stands now, Balsillie can be part of a September auction for the team, along with Chicago sports magnate Jerry Reinsdorf, who is bidding $148 million, and looking for millions in breaks from local authorities to stay put. An unlikely third group that seeks to have the Coyotes play some games in Saskatoon or Halifax, is also in the mix for next month's auction.

TAX SPAWNS REVOLT: At least one prominent Glendale, Ariz., entrepreneur objected to a rumoured tax on local businesses to finance Reinsdorf's keeping the team there. Leaked court documents caused a wave of anger in stores and restaurants around Jobing.Com Arena, already suffering from a poor U.S. economy.

"I'm open to anything that keeps the Coyotes around, but does not put an undue burden on others," SPAWN comic book creator and one-time Edmonton Oilers investor Todd McFarlane, who owns a toy store at Westgate City Center.

McFarlane made the comment to a Glendale newspaper after reports Reinsdorf asked local officials to create a special taxing district around the arena to collect a "voluntary" surcharge on retail sales. It could mean $23 million in added revenue, though Reinsdorf's representatives have not commented and no council meeting has dealt with the issue.


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