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Triad Business Journal masthead
January 19, 2004

BB&T sues owners of Greensboro Generals

Matt Harrington
The Business Journal

Web Version

GREENSBORO -- While the city of Greensboro works on controlling the day-to-day operations of the Greensboro Generals minor-league franchise, a new lawsuit has been filed against the ownership entities of the hockey team.

Winston-Salem-based BB&T Corp. has filed a civil suit in Forsyth County Superior Court against Greensboro Professional Sports LLC, Triad Professional Sports LLC, Generals owner Arthur Donaldson and former Generals President Rocco Scarfone.

Greensboro Professional Sports and Triad Professional Sports are limited-liability companies set up by Donaldson, an attorney. Greensboro Professional Sports owned the team until September 2002, when ownership was switched to Triad Professional Sports.

Neither Donaldson, Scarfone, nor Bell Davis & Pitt PA, the law firm representing BB&T in the case, could be reached for comment.

The lawsuit alleges that four separate loans were made by BB&T -- two to Greensboro Professional Sports LLC in 1999 and 2000, and two to Triad Professional Sports LLC, both in 2002. The loans ranged from $91,000 to $400,000. According to the lawsuit, as of Sept. 18, 2003, the total in principal and interest owed to BB&T was $742,234.

Further, BB&T alleges in the suit that both Donaldson and Scarfone executed and delivered to the bank guaranty agreements on behalf of Greensboro Professional Sports LLC and Triad Professional Sports LLC. Those agreements said that each of the two "unconditionally guarantees payment to BB&T of all principal, interest, attorneys' fees and other sums owed to BB&T," according to the lawsuit.

The Generals team and ownership has been in flux lately. In June, Greensboro businessmen Bill Black and Don Brady, who were among the owners of the former Greensboro Monarchs hockey team, agreed to lease the Generals for $1 a year from Donaldson.

At that time, Scarfone was relieved of his involvement in day-to-day operations of the team, a role Greensboro Coliseum Managing Director Matt Brown took over.

Then in September, the city took over all operations of the Generals, including everything from paying player salaries to selling tickets in order to keep the team as a tenant at the coliseum.

The BB&T suit isn't the first against the ownership entities. A jury found in December 2002 that the ownership of the Generals owed former coach Jeff Brubaker nearly $110,000. Brubaker filed a second complaint in an effort to collect the money, and his attorney recently said he could add the Greensboro Coliseum to the list of defendants.

City Attorney Linda Miles said the city had not been served with any papers letting it know it was included in the Brubaker suit.

"The only thing I can say is that I don't think the city of Greensboro had anything to do with the debate between (Brubaker) and the owner of the Greensboro Generals," said Greensboro Mayor Keith Holliday.

"I'm hoping that if we're drawn into (a lawsuit involving the team), a judge would have the wisdom to pull us out."


Reach Matt Harrington at (336) 370-2918 or mharrington@bizjournals.com.