In an email sent to senior staff at the Nashville Predators and forwarded to The Tennessean, team chairman and principal owner David Freeman admitted that cash-flow problems are forcing him to sell off some assets in order to pay his tax debt to the IRS. This excerpt comes from his email:
In addition to a rather large equity investment in the team, I also loaned the Predators several million dollars on a "short-term" basis in 2007 to complete the purchase of the team. Due to subsequent events eventually culminating in the bankruptcies of parties associated with the team, it has become appropriate for me to convert my loan into an additional permanent investment in the club.
...Unfortunately, reacting responsibly to the acts of others in a manner most beneficial to the team created a short-term personal liquidity problem for me. I am toward the end stages of liquidating additional assets and paying my tax obligations in full and with the knowledge and cooperation of the IRS.
There are lots of moving parts involved here, and when "bankruptcies of parties associated with the team" are mentioned, that could possibly refer both to "Boots" Del Biaggio and CIT Group, the lending institution which financed much of the franchise purchase and went bankrupt recently.
There's no specification as to which assets are being sold.
Freeman's tax issues came to public attention only because Brian Whitfield, CEO of the Sommet Group, tossed it into his rebuttal of the Preds' lawsuit, in an apparent attempt to distract attention from the Sommet Group's non-payment for arena naming rights.
While I'm sure he'll get raked over the coals in some circles, at least Freeman has taken the initiative to share some explanation publicly.