Updated 04/17/2012 06:40 PM
First hearing held in First Arena lawsuits
The fate of First Arena is now in the hands of a Supreme Court judge. The first hearing for the First Arena lawsuits were held in Supreme Court in Elmira Tuesday. Our Lara Greenberg tells us what both sides have to say.
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ELMIRA, N.Y. -- First Arena proceedings were held in Supreme Court for the first time Tuesday.
The county foreclosed on the facility in February because of unpaid taxes. The Afr family leases the arena from Southern Tier Economic Development or STED. Now the Afrs are suing the county for tabling their offer to repurchase the facility.
"Everybody supports the Jackals. That's what we're here for. You guys want hockey? Tell the county. Tell the legislators. It's your building. It's your community," said First Arena operator Tamer Afr.
But the county says it's up to the county legislature to decide whether or not to re-sell the building to them. The county wants the lawsuit dismissed.
"The public has spoken pretty loudly and is upset with the way the arena has been run and the Legislature wants to look at what options it might have in deciding whether or not to sell it back to STED," said Chemung County attorney Bryan Maggs.
The judge also heard sides from another lawsuit filed by the Afrs. It claims former general manager Robbie Nichols and his partner Donald Lewis used their experience with the Jackals to solicit sponsors for the Elmira Pioneers.
Afr's attorney explained their reasons for the suit.
"To get preliminary injunction so that the Elmira Jackals can continue unhampered in getting their sponsors together for next year without people having inside information trying to take that business away," said Afr's attorney Jim Parks.
"I think that's working in sports. I've been in sports for the last 45 years of my life. And you learn a lot. If I've got some knowledge in my brain it's in there. I don't know how you take it out and leave it," said former First Arena general manager Robbie Nichols.
Nichols is already planning a countersuit.
The judge is expected to rule on both lawsuits next week.