Friday, September 11, 2009

"Very careful" in his numbers? What if Zimbalist had been cross-examined on the $6 billion lie?

Remember, after a critical report on Andrew Zimbalist's report for Forest City Ratner was issued in June 2004, the New York Times gave the "sports economist for hire" (to quote the Times hockey blog) the last word:
Dr. Zimbalist, for his part, said he had not seen the report and knew only what he had heard from reporters. Saying he was unsure whether Dr. Peebles or Mr. Kim had fully understood the economic issues, he added, "I was very careful in my use of numbers."

But what if Zimbalist, whose credibility has taken a hit in four recent court cases, been subject to cross-examination regarding the $6 billion lie?

It might have had some elements of the debate in court yesterday about Zimbalist's consulting work for Jim Balsillie, the owner who wants to relocate the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton, Ontario, near Toronto.

Zimbalist on the stand

From the National Post's live blog:
[National Hockey League lawyer Shepard] Goldfein continues the knife dance with Zimbalist. We learn that the professor considered Hamilton a suburb of Toronto in his valuations of a team in Hamilton. And a team in the suburbs, according to Zimbalist's method, is worth half as much as a team in the core. So, a team in Hamilton would be worth half as much as the Leafs. That's Zimbalist's theory. And he did not factor TV revenues into his theory.

...Goldfein, the NHL lawyer, has clearly gotten under the skin of Dr. Zimbalist. Back-and-forth has been testy at times, with Goldfein asking Judge Baum to direct Zimbalist to answer questions directly. In one give-and-go, Goldfein suggested the relocation fee of the Colorado Rockies to New Jersey was 60% of the purchase price of the franchise. That would peg the Coyotes' relocation fee above US$120-million, based on Balsillie's offer.

...Goldfein, the NHL sharpshooter, is punching holes in Zimbalist’s “expert” witness tag. He says the expert has had testimony tossed out of courts on a couple occasions, and that one judge in a case involving NASCAR labeled his testimony as “incompetent.”

Zimbalist says that the case is under appeal. But if I was Balsillie I would be wondering why, exactly, I had paid this guy. That’s just me. And I am no expert.


Zimbalist is making at least $50,000 for his report. Here's some more criticism of it.

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