Sports owner Tom Hicks looks out at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington and wonders, "How do I owe this much money?" (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Allsport)
Murray Chass has been a New York based baseball writer for years. He teed off on Rangers owner Tom Hicks who is about to sell a majority interest in the Texas Rangers.
Defaulting on bank loans will do that to you.
Although Hicks has said he hasn’t decided if he will sell 50 percent of the Rangers, a majority interest or the entire franchise, he has to sell the whole team because two months ago he defaulted on about $540 million in loans and the only way he can pay off the loans is to sell the entire team.
Hicks said at the time he defaulted that it was a strategic decision not to pay the interest he owed on the loans from about 40 financial institutions, but nothing has developed to indicate that his strategy was any better than the strategy he has used to develop the Rangers into a contender.
“He tells everyone this is a way to negotiate with the banks,” said a person connected to one of the 40 lenders, “but without warning, the interest date comes due and he announced he wasn’t paying. What strategy is it to piss off the people who lend you money? He constantly says in the press he did this to bring the banks to the table. You go to your banks and say I have a problem; we need to restructure these loans. People complain but it gets done. You don’t say I’m not going to pay the interest.”
Hicks epitomizes the man who is successful in business, becomes wealthy enough to buy a team, buys it and proceeds to run it with incredible incompetence. If these owners had operated their businesses the way they run their teams, they would never have made the money they used to but the teams.