Court rules Aquilini is sole owner of Canucks
Published Tuesday, February 3, 2009 1:12PM PST
Two former business partners of Vancouver Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini have been shut out from their bid to claim part ownership of the team.
B.C.'s Court of Appeal in Vancouver rejected an appeal Tuesday from business rivals Ryan Beedie and Tom Gaglardi.
The men say Aquilini went behind their backs and broke a partnership agreement when he purchased the team by himself from John McCaw in 2004.
But Court Justice Mary Newbury agreed with a lower court decision that Aquilini was not in a "joint venture" with the duo leading up to the months of his successful purchase.
In November 2004, Aquilini bought half the hockey team for $250 million from American telecom billionaire John McCaw Jr., only days after negotiations for the team fell through with Gaglardi and Beedie.
Beedie and Gaglardi filed a lawsuit against Orca Bay in 2005, claiming the trio had an agreement to work together in a partnership or joint venture and that Aquilini had a duty to them not to purchase the Canucks on his own behalf.
In January 2008, the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled in favour of Aquilini, saying that McCaw was free to sell the team to anyone he saw fit.
"When the partnership dissolved, the partners became free agents, equally at liberty to persuade their own interests,'' Justice Catherine Wedge wrote.
Aquilini, along with his brothers Paolo and Roberto, purchased the remaining 50 per cent of General Motors Place and the Vancouver Canucks from McCaw in November 2006.
Aquilini issued a statement after today's ruling saying he's relieved and hopes that the decision means he and his family can put the issue behind them and get back to work.