Tom Gagliardi and Ryan Beedie filed a statement of claim in B.C. Supreme Court on Wednesday, saying they were partners with Aquilini in negotiations to buy the Canucks from McCaw.
They claim Aquilini, a local developer, pulled out but still wanted to be kept up to date on negotiations because he was still interested in participating in the deal if he got the financing for it.
"After Aquilini ceased to be a partner, he owed a duty of confidence to (the complainants) not to disclose or use any confidential information provided to him for his own benefit contrary to their interests," court documents said.
Francesco Aquilini bought 50 per cent of the Vancouver Canucks on Nov. 17, 2004. (CP File Photo)
Gagliardi and Beedie say Aquilini then brokered a deal with McCaw, buying 50 per cent of the team in November, and the sale was "unlawful and should be set aside."
"At all times we fully complied with all our legal and ethical obligations, and we dealt with the other party in good faith," Stan McCammon, the Canucks president and CEO, said in a statement. "We simply failed to reach an agreement with them. We had the full right to begin negotiations with Mr. Aquilini, and we did so.
"We are confident that, at the end of the day, the facts will be heard and we will prevail. We will vigorously defend ourselves – and the reputation of our organization – against these claims."
They're asking unspecified damages and the court to reinstate an offer McCaw made them on Oct. 30.
It's believed that Gagliardi and Beedie were trying to work out a deal to buy both the arena and team outright from McCaw.
Gagliardi is president and CEO of a hotel chain, while Beedie heads an industrial building design and construction company.
Gagliardi and Beedie's lawyer, Ian Nathanson, said it will probably be between 18 months and two years before the case gets to court.
with files from Canadian Press