MONTREAL (AP) _ Stephen Bronfman, the son of Montreal Expos founder Charles Bronfman, has been asked by the team's limited partners to buy out controlling owner Jeffrey Loria, Montreal La Presse reported Saturday.

If he refuses, the limited partner will likely sell their shares to the New York art dealer.

``We're aware that Stephen won't sign a blank check,'' one unidentified source was quoted as saying. ``Whatever happens, the fate of the Expos will be made public in 10 days.''

Loria bought control of the team in December from Claude Brochu and doubled the team's payroll to about $35 million.

But the team failed to sell broadcast rights for television and English radio, and the downtown stadium project _ a key to the organization's resurgence _ appears to be at a standstill.

Loria recently issued a cash call for about $45 million to cover projected losses while the Expos play at Olympic Stadium during the next two years.

Loria, who owns 24 percent of the team, said he needs new funds to pay bills and operate a winning team.