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New York Times, November 21, 1974

Sale of Florida Blazers In WFL Consummated


ORLANDO, Fla., Nov. 20 (AP)--The sale of the World Football League's Florida Blazers has been consummated and the new owners will deliver a partial payment of $2-million before halftime of tomorrow night's playoff game against Philadelphia, a team spokesman said today.

"I plan to display the check and one of the new owners on national television at half-time," said Bob Deutsch, the Blazers' general counsel.

Deutsch declined to name the new owners or reveal the total sale price. But he said the $2-million payment "certainly is enough to take care of everybody we owe."

Heading the list of Blazer debtors are the players. They have gone virtually unpaid for 12 weeks.

The sale has, been in the works for weeks but the actual transfer of funds was repeatedly delayed because of reported snags in finding a bank to handle the deal.

Deutsch branded as "pure speculation" published reports that the money for the purchase came from Arab oil interests. "Certainly none of the new owners are Arabs," Deutsch said. "They [the new owners] arranged for the money through banks. It seems that whenever a lot of money is produced by banks these days, people say it's from the Arabs."

Deutsch said Rommie Loudd, a former pro linebacker who founded the Blazers, will remain with the club as president and chief executive officer. The lawyer added, however, that Loudd would concern himself with football and the new owners would hire another executive to handle the business end.

Loudd split with an Orlando millionaire, David Williams, the major investor in the limited partnership under which the club was originally financed.

It was not known whether the new owners had come to terms with Williams, who has a suit pending to stop the sale on the grounds that he was not consulted and stands to lose $1-million he has invested in the franchise.

I.R.S. Files Tax Lien

WASHINGTON, Nov. 20 (AP)--The Internal Revenue Service has filed a $168,000 tax lien against the Portland Storm of the World Football League, an I.R.S. spokesman confirmed today.

The spokesman said the lien against the financially troubled football team was filed Nov. 13 for withholding and Social Security taxes.

He said the lien was filed one month after the Storm was supposed to have reported the taxes and paid them. He said if the team did not make good on the money, the I.R.S, could foreclose on the franchise. He did not say when, or if, such an action might be taken.

The league is currently seeking to find local investors in Portland to purchase the club from a Canadian millionaire. The team's players have not been paid for seven weeks.

The lien was the second such I.R.S. action disclosed against a W.F.L. team in two days. On Tuesday, the I.R.S. disclosed that it had joined the line of government agencies seeking tax dollars from the Birmingham Americans.

The I.R.S. said it had filed a tax lien of $237,000 against the Americans. County records indicated' the Federal agency had also filed a $160,000 lien against. the Birmingham Club owner, Bill Putnam. In addition, the Americans owe $100,000 in back taxes to the city, county and state.

Playoff at Home

BIRMINGHAM, Ala., Nov. 20 (AP)--Bill Putnam, owner of the Birmingham Americans, said today the team would play its semifinal playoff game at home next Wednesday.

Earlier, Putnam had said that the Americans would have to go on the road for the playoffs because of tax liens attaching any gate receipts of games at Birmingham's Legion Field.

Putnam said today the Federal, state, county and city tax officials had agreed to take only 30 per cent of the gate.

An Affirmative Vote

ANAHEIM, Calif., Nov. 20 (UPI)--Players for the Southern California Sun, without a paycheck for a week, reaffirmed today their vote to meet Hawaii in a first-round playoff game tomorrow night, feeling the survival of the World Football League was at stake.

"We have to do what we can as players to make sure there is a league next year;" said the Sun player representative, Dave Williams.

"We feel the future is bright. If we play in the playoffs, then we all have a chance to get our back pay and look forward to the future."