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Denver Owner Was Accused by SEC

July 30, 1999

DENVER (AP) _ The new owner of the Denver Nuggets and the Colorado Avalanche was involved in an insider stock trading allegation more than a decade ago, according to Security and Exchange Commission documents.

In 1988, the Securities and Exchange Commission said Donald L. Sturm allegedly violated its anti-fraud provisions by helping a friend engage in insider trading.

Sturm’s lawyer, Paul Jacobs, said the now-billionaire banker did nothing wrong and that the action will have no effect on Sturm’s ability to purchase the basketball and hockey teams and the new Pepsi Center arena.

A group headed by Sturm purchased the Avalanche, the Nuggets and the Pepsi Center from Ascent Entertainment Group for $461 million Tuesday.

The National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association have 30 to 60 days to approve the offer, said Ascent spokesman Kasmah Kremmel, adding that he did not anticipate any problems.

Sturm, who was a banker and an executive of the Kiewit Co. in Omaha in 1988, neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s allegations at the time. But he agreed to pay back $128,412 in stock investment profits earned by an unidentified friend, plus $25,673 in interest, for a total of $154,085.

Sturm, then 56, also agreed to pay a civil penalty of $128,412, an amount equal to the investment profit, according to SEC documents filed July 11, 1988, in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Sturm was not available for comment.

His lawyer, Paul Jacobs, said the information had been disclosed to the professional hockey and basketball leagues.

``It’s not an issue at all,″ he said. ``There was never an allegation that Don himself ever engaged in anything illegal. An employee of his did.″

The incident also was disclosed to Ascent, Jacobs said.

Ascent officials declined to comment. Officials from the NBA and NHL declined to specifically discuss the SEC situation.

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