Notorious duke, tied to Lightning, dies
By CRAIG BASSE, Times Obituaries Editor
His aristocratic trappings mesmerized officials of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
The year was 1991, and team leaders were desperate to raise $22.5-million in fees to keep their fledgling National Hockey League franchise alive.
Angus Charles Drogo Montagu, 12th Duke of Manchester and holder of a seat in the House of Lords, looked like their money man.
An Irish company that counted him among its officers said it wanted to invest, and the hockey folks were only too eager to believe it could really happen.
At a news conference, the team announced that the duke was a major investor and decked him out in his own Lightning jersey.
The duke addressed the mass of journalists, "a large whiskey in one hand and a cigar in the other," said the Times of London, which Monday reported his death on July 25 at age 63.
"He duly declared his love of America, of football and baseball, and, as the new chairman of the Tampa team, said he was sure he would soon love hockey, too," the newspaper obituary said.
But neither the duke nor the company, Link International Ltd., ever secured the money they promised after skeptical local banks and other capital brokers turned down their loan requests. Within weeks, the duke was out of Link and the Lightning, and the team had moved on to other financing options.
In 1996, a federal jury in Tampa found the duke guilty of conspiracy and three counts of wire fraud for a scheme to bilk the team and several financial institutions out of millions of dollars his company claimed it would invest in the team.
He was sentenced to less than three years in prison.
The duke never did return the Lightning jersey he was given. On the back it said: "The Duke."
-- Information from Times files was used in this obituary.
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