Predators want dispute resolved by NHL, not in court

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The Nashville Predators filed a motion seeking to have the civil dispute between part-owner David Freeman and chairman Thomas Cigarran resolved by the league office rather than settled in court.

The motion from Predators Holdings LLC and Cigarran says ''the proper forum for plaintiffs' dispute is the arbitration proceeding before the NHL Commissioner.''

Freeman and Commodore Trust sued the team and Cigarran last week, saying the defendants breached their fiduciary obligations and contractual commitments to Freeman after he helped keep the franchise in Nashville. The plaintiffs are seeking $250 million.

Their complaint says Freeman ''led the fight'' to keep the Predators in Nashville by organizing the Holdings investment group in 2007. It says certain members of that group ''have conspired to repay his dedication to the team and community by claiming that Commodore owns less than one percent of Holdings, by refusing to treat it as an owner and by repudiating Holdings' commitment to compensate plaintiffs in return for tens of millions of dollars of loan guarantees that kept the Predators solvent and in Nashville.''

The complaint names Cigarran ''the chief architect of this scheme.''

On Friday, a motions hearing was set for July 15.

In their filing Thursday, the defendants said this case ''is not about what Freeman did in 2007. It is about what Freeman has done since 2007.'' They say that ''Freeman has repeatedly failed his fellow owners, failed the Predators and failed the city of Nashville'' since that time.

''Freeman wants this Court - and the public - to believe the he has spent the last decade quietly dedicating his time and resources to the good of the Predators,'' the defendants said in the memorandum supporting their motion. ''In fact, the opposite is true. For the last eight years, Freeman has only put his own interests ahead of the Predators - and often to the Predators' detriment.''

The Tennessean first reported the motion.

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