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Names in the Game

April 28, 1997

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) _ Trustees managing Robert Irsay’s estate improperly sold a majority interest in the Indianapolis Colts to his son and to his first wife, Irsay’s widow claimed Monday.

Late last month, Nancy Irsay filed a motion in Hamilton Superior Court, asking a judge to remove the trustees, claiming they had ignored her requests for an accounting of the estate and that she had not received money or property left to her when Irsay died Jan 14.

Irsay’s estate had been placed in trust after he had a stroke more than a year earlier. Jim Irsay, the team’s general manager, had taken control of the team’s day-to-day operations even before his father’s illness and assumed the title of owner after his father died.

Nancy Irsay has been battling Jim Irsay for control of the rest of the estate.

``This is not a family dispute. This is a problem with the trustees,″ said Nancy Irsay, who married the Colts owner in 1989, the year after he divorced Harriet Irsay, his first wife and Jim’s mother.

``This is a problem with people that were entrusted with my husband’s faith. It’s not a one-on-one dispute. It’s a serious breach of fiduciary duty of the trustees,″ Nancy Irsay said.

She said the trustees ``had an absolute and undivided duty to Bob.″

``Yet without informing Bob or myself, they sold a majority of the team _ 30 percent of the team to Jim and 20.001 percent to Harriet.″

A prenuptial agreement gave Nancy Irsay $750,000, the couple’s 38.6-acre Carmel, Ind., property and Chicago condominium, at least $250,000 in term life insurance and four tickets to a suite in the RCA Dome for all Colts home games.

Larry Kellogg, Nancy Irsay’s attorney, said neither Jim Irsay nor his mother ``spent a dime of their own cash″ to buy their shares of the team. He said Jim Irsay borrowed $6.5 million from the Colts to make the purchase.

``Nancy Irsay does not have, and has never had, any ownership interest in the Colts,″ said Paul Sheridan, a lawyer for Harriet Irsay. ``Even if he had wanted to, Robert Irsay could not have left any portion of the Colts to Nancy Irsay.″

Sheridan claimed Irsay was bound as part of his divorce settlement to keep the ownership of the team in Harriet’s family.


TORONTO (AP) _ Tony Granato, Sheldon Kennedy and Joe Mullen were selected Monday as finalists for the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player ``who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.″

The award, named after the late Minnesota North Stars forward, is voted upon by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association. The winner will be announced June 19.

Granato, 32, returned to the league this season with the San Jose Sharks after brain surgery in February 1996 to remove an abnormal collection of blood vessels. Granato scored 25 goals and added 15 assists and played in the all-star game.

Kennedy, 28, missed training camp and most of the season’s first two months after coming forward with a horrific story of sexual abuse by former junior coach Graham James, now in jail. Kennedy, who made his story public hoping to convince others to confront similar abuse, also started a foundation to help abused children.

Upon his return to the ice, he collected eight goals and 10 assists for the Bruins.

Mullen, 40, became this season the first American-born player to score 500 career goals. The 16-year veteran, who played right wing for Pittsburgh this season, has survived serious knee injuries in 1983 and 1991 and underwent surgery twice over the last six years to repair herniated disks in his neck.

Calgary’s Gary Roberts won the award last year.


NEW YORK (AP) -- Charles Jones of Long Island University, who led the nation in scoring, won the 64th Haggerty Award presented Monday by the National Invitation Tournament and the Met Basketball Writers Association.

Ray Haskins of LIU, whose Blackbirds (21-9) won the Northeast Conference championship and advanced to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1984, was selected coach of the year.

Shaheen Holloway of Seton Hall was rookie of the year.

Jones, a native of New York and a junior guard who transferred from Rutgers, led NCAA Division I with a 30.1 average and 903 points, both school records.

Joining Jones and Holloway on the All-Met first team were Mindaugas Timinskas of Iona, Zendon Hamilton and Felipe Lopez of St. John’s and Corey Albano of Monmouth of New Jersey.

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