Aquilini found to be sole franchise owner by court

rafe arnott/metro vancouver


Francesco Aquilini takes part in a press conference at GM Place after a judge ruled in his favour in a dispute over ownership of the Vancouver Canucks.

« We tried to put it in very simple terms … ultimately the judge agreed with all our arguments. »

Francesco Aquilini out deked his former business associates and is the sole owner of the Vancouver Canucks and G.M. Place, the B.C. Supreme Court ruled yesterday.

"It was a shutout," said Aquilini’s lawyer Howard Shapray, at G.M. Place yesterday afternoon.

Earlier in the day, Justice Catherine Wedge ruled the relationship between Aquilini and his fellow millionaires, plaintiffs Ryan Beedie and Tom Gaglardi, was neither a partnership nor joint venture.

Aquilini, therefore, owed no fiduciary duty to either man and did nothing wrong when he purchased half the franchise from reclusive Seattle billionaire John McCaw in November 2004.

"The judgment speaks for itself," Shapray said. "We tried to put it in very simple terms … ultimately the judge agreed with all our arguments."

At a press conference yesterday afternoon Francesco Aquilini, flanked by his brothers Roberto and Paolo, said he was pleased by the judge’s decision and was glad the case was over.

He added that he had no interest in carrying on a public fight with Beedie or Gaglardi and would not comment on whether he would be seeking damages.

Shapray, however, confirmed that he would be seeking court costs as well as "special costs," the latter requiring a judge to rule the plaintiffs’ conduct was reprehensible in some way. He would not say what the court case had cost.

In their lawsuit, Beedie and Gaglardi alleged that Aquilini — who was part of their earlier bid to purchase a portion of the franchise — surreptitiously went behind their backs and entered into negotiations to purchase the team.

Roberto Aquilini said the "real cost" of the lawsuit was the toll it took on his older brother.

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