By David Johnson/ The Gazette
The funniest moment at yesterday's media introduction of Jeffrey Loria as new controlling owner of the Expos came when a reporter asked new local investor Stephen Bronfman if he had spoken to his father, former club majority owner Charles, before deciding to put $10 million of his own money into the team.
Hmm. Dad has his views, and because of - or in spite of - those views, now Son of Charles is stepping forward to put up the same amount of money that Charles, now living in New York, invested back in 1969.
"Of course, that bought a lot more for him than it's buying for me now," the younger Bronfman said with a laugh. Although Loria received most of the attention yesterday, club chairman Jacques Menard told reporters that Bronfman has been the key player behind the scenes in helping raise new local investment capital for the club. A U.S. group headed by Loria is to put up $75 million in new money; thanks to Bronfman, Menard said, new local investors should be able to match that amount. Their identities, he said, will be made public in the coming weeks. "Stephen has been, quite simply, invaluable to me and to the folks who have been working on this project, to get us where we are today," Menard said.
Bronfman said he decided to get involved last April after attending the Expos' home opener.
Bronfman, who is to serve with Menard as co-chairman of the new Expos ownership committee, is credited by team insiders as having influenced former managing partner Claude Brochu to step aside as gracefully as possible.
Bronfman wouldn't confirm this, but he told a packed hall at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel: "I'd like to thank Claude for helping us, for standing behind us through this whole process and in helping us get this thing through."