Port Vale: Investment deal is dead, says Blue Sky chief executive (UPDATE)
THE boss of the U.S. firm supposedly investing millions of pounds in Port Vale says the deal is dead and claims it has been for some time – despite what the club says.
Hank Julicher, CEO of Blue Sky International, also told The Sentinel the contract was never worth anywhere near the millions of pounds indicated by the club when the deal was announced.
He also denied any knowledge of Blue Sky receiving any shares in Port Vale; despite the club's shares register saying his wife Margit owns 30,000, which were used to help vote the chairman and chief executive on to Vale's board.
A statement issued on behalf of Vale chairman Peter Miller last night said: "The comments made by Hank Julicher are incorrect and a blatant misrepresentation of the facts and documented evidence will substantiate this position."
Speaking from Philadelphia, Mr Julicher said: "I can tell you categorically that Blue Sky will not be investing in Port Vale Football Club.
"The deal is dead and has been, in my eyes, for a long time. I simply don't know where these figures of £5 million and £8 million came from. It was never our intention to invest that kind of money into Port Vale."
Mr Julicher added: "I'd have to be crazy or on drugs to agree to such a thing."
He said: "By my estimation, the maximum outlay for Blue Sky would have been in the region of $850,000 (the equivalent of about £550,000).
"The partnership won't be happening.
"The reason I have remained quiet for so long is that I have visited Port Vale. I have met the people who work there.
"I have spoken to fans and I've seen the passion. They're good people – honest and hard-working. I don't want to be the guy to punish them or their football club. I'm angry. Really angry. The people I have a problem with are on the board at Port Vale; Peter Miller, Mike Lloyd and Perry Deakin.
"However, I've received dozens of emails, hand-written letters and phone calls from Port Vale fans recently and so I want to make my position clear: Blue Sky hasn't put any money into Port Vale and won't be doing so.
"End of story."
Mr Julicher added: "As for the shares said to have been issued to my wife Margit, and counted in the 'yes' vote for the recent polls to elect Perry Deakin and Peter Miller to the Port Vale board, I know nothing about them and Margit tells me neither does she. In my opinion they are 'ghost stock' – 'phantom shares'."
Port Vale trumpeted the Blue Sky deal, said to be worth around £8 million, on its own website on September 13. The statement said: "Port Vale Football Club is delighted to announce a strategic alliance with American sports construction firm, Blue Sky International, which will facilitate an initial £5 million pound investment into the club over the next 12 months. The partnership will see investment into the running of the club, as well as Vale Park and a training facility, with an expected additional commitment of £2.5 million over the next five years for significant community outreach facilities, throughout the Stoke-on-Trent area.
"A further £500,000 will be spent on pre-season tours over the next 10 years, taking the total investment into the club to approximately £8 million."
However, Mr Julicher described the potential tie-up with Vale as a 'sponsorship agreement' whereby he claimed the profits from various projects to be worked on by Blue Sky, such as seating in the Lorne Street stand, would then be 'reinvested' into the club by Blue Sky.
He explained: "We were supposed to do all these jobs such as the Robbie Williams Suite and then reinvest the money from the profits back into Port Vale.
"You've seen the contract. The deal I signed back on August 31 was entirely dependent on the club bringing in the money to make these things happen through a variety of sources. Peter Miller talked about lottery funding and other deals they were working on. In my opinion, both I and the club's supporters have been misled."
In a story published on Friday, December 2, Perry Deakin claimed both he and Mr Miller had paid for their shares in Port Vale since November 24. The Sentinel has been unable to verify this.
UPDATE: The Port Vale directors have posted documents relating to Blue Sky International's purchase of shares.Just click the link.
Read the full story in The Sentinel
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