Portland Pirates lawsuit against Cumberland County Civic Center can go forward, court rules

Posted Dec. 07, 2013, at 3:09 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 07, 2013, at 4:52 p.m.
 A street banner hanging outside the Cumberland County Civic Center celebrates the venue's relationship with the Portland Pirates professional hockey team in this September 2013 file photo.
A street banner hanging outside the Cumberland County Civic Center celebrates the venue's relationship with the Portland Pirates professional hockey team in this September 2013 file photo.

PORTLAND, Maine — A lawsuit brought by the Portland Pirates attempting to force the Cumberland County Civic Center to increase its share of revenues can go forward, a judge ruled Friday.

Maine’s only professional hockey team filed the suit in September after months of failed negotiations over the lease. The team announced later that month they would play all the upcoming season’s home games at the Colisee in Lewiston.

The Pirates and the Civic Center had reached and announced a tentative agreement in April to continue the team’s lease for 10 years that would have given the Pirates 50 percent of all concessions revenues. But after a state agency ruled the Pirates couldn’t profit off sales of alcohol without a liquor license the two parties renegotiated that revenue split, with the Civic Center offering the team 65 percent of revenue from non-alcohol sales. The Pirates maintain that increase isn’t enough to make up for the lost revenue from alcohol sales.

The six-page decision was issued Friday by Justice John Nivison of the Business and Consumer Court.

“The Pirates filed this lawsuit for one key reason: to play hockey before our fans at the Civic Center under the terms of the April 17 agreement. No more, no less,” said Ron Cain, the Pirates’ principal owner, in a press release issued by the team’s law firm.

 

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