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Report: Tampa Bay Lightning Owner Failed to Properly Register Corporation With State of Florida


According to reporting from the Sunshine State News, Jeff Vinik — the owner of the National Hockey League’s (NHL) Tampa Bay Lightning — has not registered the Delaware-based company that officially owns the team as an out-of-state corporation. Failure to register is a violation of Florida’s corporate laws. In this article, our Miami business litigation attorneys provide an overview of the allegations being raised by this report and we explain Florida’s registration requirements for out-of-state businesses.

‘Foreign’ Corporations are Required to Register 

Under Florida state law, most ‘foreign’ corporations are required to register with state regulators. In addition, there are disclosure requirements for companies that meet certain criteria. To be clear, the term ‘foreign’ corporation is not necessarily related to international businesses. Quite the contrary, all companies that are formed in another U.S. jurisdiction are foreign corporations for the purposes of Florida law. If you are familiar with corporate law, you may be aware that many companies are formed in Delaware. This is true for a number of different reasons; there are certain advantages to setting up a company in Delaware as opposed to in most other states.

The Sunshine State News reports that Mr. Vinik owns the Lightning through a Delaware corporation called Tampa Bay Sport and Entertainment, LLC or TBSE for short. The NHL announced this to the public when Mr. Vinik purchased the team for $93 million in 2010. The reporters indicate that they confirmed with the Florida Division of Corporations that TBSE has never registered with the state. 

Failure to Comply With Florida Law Can Lead to Financial Penalties 

All out-of-state corporations that do business in Florida should ensure that they are in full compliance with all of the state’s registration requirements and corporate disclosure requirements. The failure to register an out-of-state company could potentially result in considerable financial penalties. In fact, under Florida Statute § 607.1502, a business could be fined up to $1,000 for each year it is in violation of the state registration requirements.

If you are a business owner or business manager with questions or concerns about the state’s corporate laws, its registration requirements, or its corporate disclosure regulations, it is strongly recommended that you seek guidance from a qualified legal professional. One of the last things any business owner wants to deal with is problems or potential sanctions from state regulators. It is always better to err on the side of prudence.  

Speak to a Miami, FL Business Lawyer Right Away

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, our Florida business litigation attorneys provide effective and results-focused legal services to companies throughout the region. We have the skills to handle the full range of legal matters facing South Florida businesses, including regulatory issues and commercial litigation.

With legal offices in Miami and West Palm Beach, we are properly positioned to offer strong representation to firms throughout the region, including in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.




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