After being named in a state court lawsuit alleging fraud in the sale of Drayton McLane's shares in the fledgling CSN Houston venture, Comcast/NBCUniversal issued a statement this morning. It does not lack for the big guns:
"Comcast/NBCUniversal vehemently rejects any claim of wrongdoing asserted by the Astros. This litigation outside the bankruptcy proceedings is a desperate act, committed during a period in which Mr. Crane and his team of sophisticated advisors have been granted by the Bankruptcy Court an opportunity to explore and effectuate solutions to the Network's serious business problems. Instead, it appears that Mr. Crane is suffering from an extreme case of buyer's remorse, and aiming to blame the Network's challenges on anything but his own actions. Comcast/NBCUniversal looks forward to vindicating itself in this litigation and also remains committed to a reorganization of the Network in Bankruptcy Court."
Not sparing anything, there, are they? Since involuntary bankruptcy proceedings began, the relationship between the Astros and Comcast has deteriorated past the point of no return. These two sides really don't seem to like each other and now months of pent-up frustration are emerging in lawsuits and snipey press releases.
Does Comcast have a point, though? Should Crane be more focused on getting a deal done to make sure the network stays on course than on suing those involved in the network's creation?
Or, is the reason why Crane is suing now because of what came to light through the bankruptcy case, as clack suggested in a comment here:
This is pure speculation on my part...the Astros obtained discovery on Comcast/NBC in the bankruptcy case, which might allow them to see internal Comcast documents as well as correspondence, e-mail between Comcast and the other parties before Crane bought the Astros. I am guessing that the Astros saw something that made them believe that they could sustain evidence of misrepresentation by Comcast, McLane, etc. For example, suppose Comcast produced internal financial projections for the network that were quite different from the projections given to Crane. I'm not saying it happened, but I think that Crane would need evidence of that type before he proceeded with what is clearly an unusual lawsuit in the MLB world.
No one is without guilt here. Crane looks bad. Comcast looks bad. Drayton looks bad. It's only going to get worse until this thing goes away and that date is hopefully sometime before April of next year.