Former CFL running back Eric Lapointe and Clifford Starke both felt they had been sold a false bill of goods from CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie during the Montreal Alouettes ownership process.
Lapointe’s own group was denied ownership by the league. After that, Lapointe joined Starke’s crew, but that didn’t come to pass by the league office either. The 35-year-old Starke is the chairman of Hampstead Private Capital and made a strong push to buy the Als.
“He (Ambrosie) reminds me of a used-car salesman, which isn’t a good thing,” Starke told Montreal Gazette reporter Herb Zurkowsky.
“Maybe I was the backup option the entire time? Disrespect is the biggest word that comes to mind. This was a waste of my time.”
Lapointe played the last six seasons of his pro three-down career for the Alouettes and believed the franchise could thrive in La Belle Province under local ownership. He had been outspoken about his desire to own the Alouettes.
“We had guys on board everywhere. It’s not me (Ambrosie) insulted. He insulted a minimum of 20 guys that never are going to buy a box or ticket again. He’s never going to have any friends in any law firms or accounting firms in Montreal,” Lapointe said.
“Three times I sent him a text and asked him how much more do you want me to put (in)? Give me a number. Don’t tell me we don’t have money. They never answered, never made counter-offers. Were they just playing us? If I have the money, how can I not know what they really wanted?”
Gary Stern and his longtime business partner Sid Spiegel closed the Als ownership deal with Ambrosie and the league in short order. The Alouettes were bought by S and S Sportsco, a corporate entity owned by Stern and Spiegel. The pair of businessmen had previous investments in Quebec including steel plants in Longueuil and Rouyn-Noranda and real estate holdings.
“We had too much money. We had a very strong plan on the administration side, on the football operations side,” Lapointe said.
Zurkowsky reported Lapointe told him his group was willing to commit $100 million initially for all to come to fruition, after which they were prepared to spent $20 million annually on the Als’ budget.