ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Former Empire owner Mike Kwarta sold his remaining shares of the team to now majority owner Antonio Brown on April 19th. Now, Kwarta is back in the NAL ownership ranks, with a new team.
Kwarta has joined the Orlando Predators as a minority owner. He reiterated at a press conference Wednesday, he left the Empire because of differing opinions with Antonio Brown.
Kwarta says he still feels invested in the team he helped build, but he feels there is a growing divide amongst the fan base. He had a message for all of the Empire fans, past and present. “Support the team,” said Kwarta. “Support the guys. Support the ownership. Support what is going on right now. You can have your opinions and so on and so forth but support the brand. We want everybody to support this to keep it here.”
Kwarta also wanted to clear up what he viewed as misconceptions surrounding his exit. “We are not getting out and running,” said Kwarta. “That is not the case. We’re not running because of debt, we’re not running because of this, no. If this was about debt I wouldn’t buy into Orlando.”
As for the Empire, they made some moves to bolster their front office Wednesday. Tom Menas has added the roles of general manager and director of football operations. JR Rickert, a sports agent and founder of JR Sports Enterprises, has joined the front office as a special advisor to Antonio Brown.