Del Biaggio wanted to move Preds
As Metro officials considered whether to give millions of additional tax dollars to the Nashville Predators' new owners earlier this year, at least one part-owner was already selling the idea that the team would fail here and could be moved to another city. William J. "Boots" Del Biaggio III, a California businessman who has filed for bankruptcy and has been accused of fraud by several lenders, was signaling to potential investors that the team had "portability value," according to a confidential document obtained by The Tennessean. Del Biaggio claimed that his group, which owns almost a one-third stake in the National Hockey League's decade-old Nashville franchise, was well positioned to take control of the team if the Predators' new local owners couldn't make it work here. Many Predators fans thought the team's purchase by mostly local owners late last year meant the Preds would stay in Nashville -- particularly after generous concessions by the city this year to help the team try to reach profitability. The team is eligible to receive millions of dollars in annual taxpayer support, agreed upon by Mayor Karl Dean and approved in April by the Metro Council. The team's lead owner and managing partner, David Freeman, said the team is not at risk. He pledged to Dean and the Metro Sports Authority late last week that the Predators would remain in Nashville.