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Article updated: 1/31/2013 9:57 PM

AFL terminates deal with Chicago Rush owner

By Mike Spellman

Pat Nagle knew something was odd when he found out that Julee White and her investors had taken over ownership of the Chicago Rush.

"I found out by reading it in the Daily Herald," said Nagle, general manager of Rosemont's Allstate Arena, the home of the Rush. "That's how I found out. Nobody ever called me."

It would be another 40 days until Nagle finally tracked down White for a brief chat over the phone and then another two weeks until the pair got together for a quick tour of the building, and then ... silence.

"I hadn't heard back from her," Nagle said, "so I sent a letter to the league saying 'Hey this new ownership group has not signed a contract or paid us; what's going on?'"

Well, what's going on is that less than three months after the Arena Football League found new ownership for the Chicago Rush, league officials are again taking control of the team.

The following statement was posted Thursday afternoon at ArenaFootball.com:

"The Arena Football League has terminated its relationship with the ownership group of the Chicago Rush, the League office announced today.

"While the ownership was new to our League, we still have expectations that must be met," Arena Football League Commissioner Jerry B. Kurz said.

"For the AFL to be as strong as it can be, we have to hold all Teams accountable to a set of guidelines and the Chicago Rush owners have unfortunately not met those guidelines."

The Chicago Rush organization will remain intact during the 2013 season and a full schedule of games will be played, AFL officials said.

But exactly how that's going to work out is still in question.

"I don't know what their plans are," Nagle said. "I talked to a guy from the league (Thursday morning) and he said they were going into a meeting -- and I haven't heard back from them. I have no signed contract, no deposit, no questions on dates, nothing."

And to say he doesn't have a good feeling about what lies ahead for the Rush would be an understatement.

"The league ran the team last year and they did a good job," he said. "But to me, what the league is is all the other owners pitching in, and I don't think they want to do that, especially seven weeks before the season starts. I don't want to open the doors for 250 people. I don't want them to be embarrassed. An 18,000-seat arena does not look good with less than 1,000 people in it.

"If they don't have the money to pay rent, how are they going to have the money to advertise? I think it would be a miracle to see it happen in a six-week period.

"It isn't so much a drop-dead date. They have to come up with money, but the bigger problem is the office staff of four people that they (the Rush) have right now can't run that team -- it's impossible.

"The Wolves have 75 to probably 90 people on staff, DePaul has the entire athletic department and the Sky have a big crew. You need that.

"I don't want to open doors for them to fail. If they fail, I fail, and I don't want to do that."

Crain's Chicago Business blogger Danny Ecker was the first to report that the AFL was terminating its agreement with Rush owner Julee White, who operates Testarossa Entertainment, a Chicago-based public relations and marketing company.

According to other reports in Crain's, White purchased the Rush in November for $1 million. Ecker also reported that in recent weeks the company was unable to pay its four full-time employees.

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