Even though Eagleson insists that his and Harnett's financial interests have never been commingled, many people who have done business with Harnett simply assume him to be another Eagleson employee. Carling O'Keefe, the Canadian brewery, purchased 110 minutes of commercial time during the 1976 Canada Cup telecasts for a total of $2.53 million. Evan Hayter, Carling O'Keefe's marketing director, speaking in general of the brewery's business with Harnett, said that the deals were made "directly with Eagleson." Asked whether Carling O'Keefe's payments actually went to Eagleson, Hayter said, "Well, no, not to Eagleson. He has a guy named Arthur Harnett. Harcom. He more or less does all the sales negotiations for [Eagleson]."
In fact, in 1976 Harcom acted as Hockey Canada's agent in selling TV advertising rights to Carling O'Keefe and then acted as Carling O'Keefe's agent in reselling some of that time to other advertisers, earning, according to Hockey Canada's public records, more than $1 million in commissions. For the '81 Canada Cup series, Harcom bought the advertising rights from Hockey Canada outright, for $1.9 million. As a private company Harcom is not obligated to disclose its profits from the resale of those rights.
Bradshaw says that he dealt directly with Eagleson whenever he sold insurance to Harnett's companies. "Then," says Bradshaw, "at the end of the day, Harnett and I would go out and have a drink, and I'd say, 'Art, this is what we [Eagleson and I] agreed to. This is the deal.... I'm totally convinced that Eagleson controls Arthur Harnett and Arthur Harnett's business."
Curt Berglund, the IIHF treasurer, based in Stockholm, who has conducted much business with both Eagleson and Harnett in Europe, says, "They say that before Harnett coughs in the morning, he must first call Eagle."
Eagleson says he frequently uses Harcom's telex facilities for transacting business for his own companies, and that he arranged the $100,000 loan from Harnett to Orr, when Orr was Eagleson's client-partner. It's public record that two associates in Eagleson companies—Marvin Goldblatt, Eagleson's accountant and an officer of Rae-Con Consultants Ltd., the sports management company that's registered in the name of Nancy Eagleson; and Howard D. Ungerman, a lawyer in Eagleson's office—have served as directors of Harcom Stadium Advertising Ltd.
Harnett has refused to discuss with SI his relationship with Eagleson.
Eagleson defends his dealings with friends like Harnett, saying he works "with my friends if possible, and if my friends can't come up with the right amount of dough, then the next guy with the most dough." Chances are the "next guy" will soon become Eagleson's friend as well.
"In selling, Eagleson usually has something somebody wants," says Lefaive. "People are willing, even anxious, to do business with him because nobody knows where he might surface next."
Even though hockey has been a financial feast for Eagleson, he insists that his substantial efforts on behalf of international competition have been strictly a labor of love for sport and country. Eagleson does receive expenses from Hockey Canada for the substantial amount of work and travel he puts in on its behalf, but he gets no fee or salary. "Not five cents," he says proudly.
But his employees do. For example, until the time he left Eagleson in 1980 to form a competing management company, Watters was doing, by his own estimate, 85% of all contract negotiations for Eagleson's hockey clients. For that, Eagleson paid Watters an annual salary of around $45,000. In '77 and '78, Watters was also paid a total of $107,500 by Hockey Canada for additional duties such as coordinating the '77 World Junior Tournament and acting as general manager for Team Canada in the '77 and '78 world championships. As far as Eagleson was concerned, the money Watters got from Hockey Canada meant that he "was paid for two years." Therefore, Watters received no salary directly from Eagleson for '77 and '78, but he did get the $107,500 from Hockey Canada.