George Allen, the former coach of the Washington Redskins who now is president and chief operating officer of the Montreal Alouettes, said yesterday he has no intention of resigning that post despite what appears to be a change in majority ownership of the Canadian Football League club.
Allen has been with the Alouettes for six weeks and says he had an agreement with owner Nelson Skalbania that gave him the right to buy 51 percent of the team.
Skalbania reportedly has turned over his controlling interest in the team to Los Angeles businessman Harry Ornest as payment for a $1.3 million debt owed Ornest for the purchase of the Vancouver minor league baseball team two years ago.
The Toronto Globe and Mail quoted Allen as saying Tuesday that a transfer of the controlling interest was causing him to have second thoughts. "I'd rather not quit, but the way things are going, it's definitely a consideration," Allen told the newspaper.
However, Allen told The Associated Press yesterday, "No, I'm not quitting. I'm going to try to see this thing through.
"I don't understand the appearance of Ornest. Skalbania owes him money and he's substituting Harry for himself in the deal. I believe the way it goes, my attorney says my contract is solid."
Allen told the Globe and Mail that if he wanted "to buy the ball club, I'd probably have to go through Ornest . . . This isn't fair. Absolutely not . . . My agreement doesn't stipulate anything like this. In an effort to get Ornest off his back, Nelson figures this is one way to do it. It's probably the type of deal Ornest might like because he could sell parts of the club. But why should I be caught in their dispute. It's a very frustrating thing when you're trying to put a football team together."
Allen and Ornest met for 35 minutes today. The only statement after the meeting came from Ornest, who said he had been given a mandate by Skalbania to represent the club.
Allen, who could not be reached by The Washington Post for additional comment, indicated the team's financial problems have to do with its debts.
"Back debts were supposed to be paid off by March 2," he told the Globe and Mail. "The promises by Nelson were made in front of the (CFL) commissioner and league executives. This bothers me because it hurts the franchise and it hurts selling season tickets. We're going morning, noon and night, and the team has lost too much credibility."
Allen said Skalbania still owes money to Sam Berger, from whom he bought the club before the 1981 CFL season, and that some of the players still are owed money.
"Every single day there's a surprise . . . The people in Montreal deserve a better fate," Allen said. "But I'll have to take a long, hard second look as to what my next move will be."
Said CFL Commissioner Jake Gaudaur: "Good grief, what's next?"