HoopsHype Larry H. Miller rumors
Jazz owner Gail Miller and CEO Greg Miller were not at Saturday's Utah Reunion with all those familiar faces from New Jersey. Their absence was noticeable, but they didn't miss the Jazz-Nets game to avoid an awkward encounter with either of the ex-Jazzmen who were traded to New Jersey in the past year. The Millers were simply hosting their annual out-of-town retreat for Larry H. Miller Group of Companies' senior management. The timing was coincidental but unavoidable due to a scheduling conflict. "It had nothing at all to do with Memo (Okur) or Deron (Williams) or the fact that we were playing the Nets," Jazz senior vice president of communications Linda Luchetti said. "This was planned last summer." Deseret News
Thirty-two years after Larry bought his first dealership, LHM fights on. Staff reductions kept the company profitable, while LHM invested savings back into a company that started to focus more on its core assets. Grand openings and remodelings now decorate the company’s calendar, while $120 million has been devoted to current and future construction costs on the auto side. All the while, a business that sold 54,345 new and used cars in 2010 balances its desire for financial profit with its importance to the community. But LHM hasn’t been untouchable: Larry Miller’s beloved but unprofitable Miller Motor-sports Park has been a financial drain. Salt Lake Tribune
His controversial decision not to screen the gay-themed “Brokeback Mountain” in 2006 on the family’s theaters backfired, illustrating to some that the corporation was out of touch. VIP season ticket holders in 2010 sued the corporate parent of the Jazz, accusing team ownership of causing their courtside seats to plummet in value by taking away exclusive rights. The case is pending. But records from Utah’s 3rd District Court show 214 cases involving the Miller companies from 1988 to the present in which the company was a plaintiff 182 times and a defendant just eight. Salt Lake Tribune
No matter how tightly Rigby runs the sports-and-entertainment division, a few extra millions made by a pro basketball team are secondary to LHM’s ability to successfully emerge from the recession. The largest change occurred under the radar, and it could be the biggest key to the company’s continued success. Miller said a 20-month plan to pay off LHM’s capital and revolving debt was expected to come to fruition six months early. The company was prepared to be debt free in both areas by the end of September, leaving real estate as the only remaining negative. Moreover, LHM has significant capital reserves, allowing the majority of its future growth to occur without leverage. Salt Lake Tribune
Meanwhile, the Jazz have been criticized by some agents who have requested anonymity before railing against what they say are the team’s tightfisted ways. But many more players say the organization represents the best of what the NBA has to offer. Then there’s Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker, a longtime Jazz supporter who hears two questions when he travels across the country: Are you Mormon, and wasn’t John Stockton great? “The legacy of Larry Miller is going to live on forever … in this community,” Becker said. Salt Lake Tribune
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