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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.

Meeting hints at takeover by CIFL

Ellis: Was not present at meeting
Ellis: Was not present at meeting
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

CIFL officials met with Freedom players, coaches Wednesday.

Friday, April 18, 2008 10:11 am
Before the opening kickoff of every Fort Wayne Freedom home game, Memorial Coliseum's loudspeakers blare a famous “Braveheart” movie quote. “… They may take our lives, but they will never take … our Freedom!” Well, that may not be the case anymore.Four Continental Indoor Football League officials, including co-founder Jeff Spitaleri, traveled to Fort Wayne on Wednesday and met with the Freedom's players and coaches at the end of their scheduled practice at the Dome on Engle Road. The purpose of the meeting seemed to be to prepare the players for what could be a takeover of their team by the CIFL. Freedom owner Todd Ellis was not present at the meeting.

Spitaleri and two other men, one described as an acting consultant, met with head coach Willie Davis and defensive coach Lamar Martin. The fourth member of the CIFL group, Mike Johnson, owner of CIFL franchises the Kalamazoo Xplosion and Saginaw Sting, spoke with Freedom players.

Johnson questioned the players about whether they had been paid all the money owed them for games played. A majority of the players said they had been paid for three of the team's four games, but others suggested they were shorted more than that.

While Johnson never said he would assume control of the Freedom, his part of the conversation implied he may be directly involved with the running of the Freedom's operations if the CIFL should take over. He told the players the league's desire is to keep a franchise in Fort Wayne, and asked that they stay on board with him to finish out the season.

Johnson indicated a takeover could happen as early as next week.

When asked for comment, both Spitaleri and Davis declined. Spitaleri said more information could be available by Saturday when he'll be in attendance at the Freedom's home game against Rock River at Memorial Coliseum.

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