Because Henry Samueli admitted in federal court Monday to participating in the illegal backdating of stock options with Broadcom Corp., Gary Bettman suspended the Ducks’ owner indefinitely today.
He’s suspended until at least August 18, when a sentencing hearing has been scheduled in federal court in Santa Ana. The reason Samueli pleaded guilty in the first place was to avoid jail time. I’ve read legal experts cited as saying he might have to serve a lengthy probation, during which he’d still be able to travel to Honda Center,and pay millions of dollars — all of which the billionaire can afford. That’s not a harsh sentence in the grand scheme of of billion-dollar, white-collar crime. It figures that Gary Bettman probably won’t levy a harsh long-term sentence then, either. So in a couple months, we’ll find out Gary Bettman’s definition of the word “harsh.”
Susan Samueli, Henry’s wife, co-owns the Ducks but decided to voluntarily step away from the front office while her husband is suspended, just to avoid the appearance of impropriety. If the co-owner believes the risks of public appearances outweigh the benefits of working directly with the team, Samueli’s suspension can’t be too big a deal in terms of how the team functions. A team spokesman told me the team’s budget for the July 1 free agency period has already been locked in.
Fun fact: Despite the suspension, the Samuelis can still attend games. They just can’t make any business decisions.