Quebec Government Will not Help

Canadian Press

Tuesday, June 6, 2000
QUEBEC (CP) - The Quebec government doesn't want to help save the Montreal Expos, deputy premier Bernard Landry said Monday.

"The government doesn't intend to be any more pro-active than it has," said Landry, who also serves as finance minister for the Parti Quebecois government. The provincial government also doesn't want to intervene in any plan by Expos lead owner Jeffrey Loria to possibly buy out the team's Quebec shareholders, Landry said in Quebec City. Quebec already has offered to assume the interest on a loan to build a $270-million stadium, which would amount about $7 million a year over 35 years. Landry said there'd be no further help.

Loria is considering whether to offer to buy out the team's Quebec shareholders, the Montreal-based TVA television network reported Monday.

The shareholders are expected to meet with Loria this week, the network reported. The team's Quebec-based shareholders have said they don't want to inject any new funds into the team, fuelling speculation Loria might turn to American investors and eventually move the Expos to the U.S.

Mayor Pierre Bourque said Monday the City of Montreal, which owns about 17 per cent of shares, said "there's no question of selling" at this time. He said he wants the Expos to stay in Montreal.

Local owners also include BCE, Canadian Pacific, Le Groupe Jean-Coutu, the Montreal and western Quebec federation of credit unions.

Recent reports have said relations between Loria and the local group, which owns 76 per cent of the Expos, have been strained.

Last week, the local group was said to be angry that Loria, a New York art dealer, controls the club although he has injected only $18 million into the franchise. Construction on the new stadium for the Expos has been delayed after Loria's plan called for additional fund-raising and investments.

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