Ex-Sonics owner claims commissioner warned him about lawsuit

By Randy Ellis Published: July 26, 2008

/> Asked if Schultz had fairly described their conversation, Stern issued the following statement to The Oklahoman on Friday: "We had a friendly conversation at the close of which we both had stated our positions. There were no threats expressed or implied.”

Schultz has continued to press forward with his lawsuit, which seeks to void the 2006 sale of the team based on allegations that the Oklahoma buyers fraudulently represented that they would use their best efforts to keep the team in Seattle.

Schultz doesn't want ownership of the team back. Instead, he wants the judge to establish a constructive trust to search for an "honest buyer” who will keep the team in the Seattle area.

Thursday, Schultz's lawyers asked the judge to split the trial into two parts — the first to determine liability and the second to deal with remedy.

Determining a remedy would require expensive and time-consuming litigation, Schultz's attorneys said.

It would all be wasted effort if the judge determines the Oklahoma owners aren't liable. Splitting the issues could save unneeded expense, Schultz contends.

The team's Oklahoma owners plan to oppose splitting the trial, said Brad Keller, one of their attorneys.

Dividing the trial "is nothing more than a transparent ploy by Schultz to try to shield from judicial scrutiny the fatal legal deficiencies in the remedies being sought,” Keller said.

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