Poor Explorers

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Despite the Great Falls Explorers huge win over the visiting Atlanta Krunk (173-120!), the overall picture is starting to look pretty bleak…

In recent weeks the coach, one-time NBA star Scott Wedman, has departed, the team has been forced to play in high school gyms in Cascade and Fairfield, and now comes word of serious money troubles for the team and owner Michael Tuckman.

Local businesses say the Great Falls Explorers professional basketball team and team owner Michael Tuckman of Seattle are racking up more than points this season. They say Tuckman has between $40,000 and $50,000 in outstanding bills. He added that if the Explorers can’t become financially viable, Great Falls may not work out. “I have received zero dollars and zero cents from ticket sales, from sponsors and from investors,” Tuckman said, adding he has spent $200,000 of his own money on the franchise. “I’ve got people that owe me money.” “The Great Falls Explorers could become the Seattle Explorers very easily,” he said.

On a related note, last week I received an e-mail from a Ron, a disappointed fan of the Explorers, who shared with me an e-mail that he sent to Mr Tuckman:

Mr. Tuckman:
The record of poor payment of salaries and expenses incurred by the Explorers is just poor business. When I read that now you are not paying for the facility the team was contracted to, I was dumbfounded. Bad arena contract or not, when you bought the team, the contract was already in place and I assume you knew that. If not, you didn’t complete any due diligence. Your organization is giving Great Falls a bad reputation with your failure to meet your financial obligations. I, for one, choose to not do business with an organization that has such low ethical standards. So, I won’t be buying any tickets nor will I be sponsoring your team in any way.
(signed)A disappointed fan

According to the disappointed fan, Mr Tuckman’s e-mail response was: “Disappointed? Gee, I’ll try and go on with my life.” I was hesitant to post this exchange, because of course I can not verify the accuracy of it. But after reading the Trib story and learning of Tuckman’s demeanor, I am more inclined to believe it than not.



  1. I’ve kept silent about this situation, for a while now, but I feel inclined to speak.

    I’m sure David will verify the authenticity of my words, since it was at an Explorers tent I was manning during Alive @ Five when we first met.

    I’ve lost friends, a home and credibility in the Great Falls community because I believed in the potential of the Explorers as a great way to bring professional basketball entertainment to the city.

    I apologize, from the bottom of my heart, that something this terrible was wrought from a venture that started out so good.

    To the fans, sponsors and the Great Falls community, I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve this.

  2. Chuck, I have no doubt about the sincerity of your words, and your passion for Great Falls and the Explorers. I don’t fault you in any way for the on-going fiasco.

  3. Below is an email string that was sent to many Explorers fans and sponsors, the email string is in reverse order and innocent names have been omitted. I attempted to sensor the language from Mr. Tuckman. The first email (the one on the bottom of this post) is in response to an email inviting all fans to come to watch the team in Cascade.

    What the f**k is ########? I’ve never heard of you, I’ve never met you and I don’t even know what you do. You’re not one of my sponsors… you haven’t paid me a f**king dime or performed any service. What exactly do you think it is that you’re sponsoring?

    Michael Tuckman
    President and CEO
    West Coast Sports, LLC
    Office: (406) 216-3033
    Cell: (406) 750-7148
    I apologize if I offended anyone.
    Especially Mr. Tuckman who has done so much to keep the team alive and running.

    That was not my intention.

    After the following email from Mr. Tuckman, ######## no longer wishes to be a sponsor for the Great Falls Explorers.

    Please remove ######### from the website sponsor page located on:

    ########## will no Advertise and/or Promote an organization that treats its sponsors with such discourse.
    Please remove us from any and all email listings that have to do with the Great Falls Explores.

    Thank you,

    Yeah, thanks for your two cents, pal, but you don’t have the slightest f**king idea what you’re talking about.

    Joe Clark BEGGED me to take this franchise off his hands. NO ONE wanted to undertake this mess so late in the year. The only reason I did it was for the sake of the CBA. If Great Falls folded it would have made an unbalanced league of 9 teams instead of 10.

    I was told that there was $125,000 in receivables from sponsors and season tickets when I bought the team, and that there was a group of local investors willing to buy 20% of the franchise if someone would take the majority. When I first read the lease Joe had negotiated, I knew it was obscene… $2,500 a night and nothing from concessions.

    I got into Great Falls for the first time on the evening of November 19th.
    I called Ogg the next day, and left another message for him a week later.
    The first time I ever met him was on opening night, December 4th, when he walked up to me in the arena and shoved the lease under my nose and said, “You need to sign this or you can’t play tonight.” With the CBA Commissioner, Dennis Truax, sitting next to me, I told Ogg I’d sign the lease, but that I wanted to re-visit the terms at his first opportunity. He agreed. I’m supposed to get a settlement sheet within 48 hours of each event. Ogg took three weeks to get me one for the first 7 games. He demanded $9,000 in addition to what they took in. SMG manages the building.
    They control the box office and all the revenue. They take their rent right off the top, and after paying their other expenses, I get what’s left.
    Let’s do the math together, pal. After eleven home games, I owed them $16,000, including $3,000 for ticket stock ordered by the idiot general manager from the previous ownership. That’s TEN F**KING years worth of tickets!

    In summary, I played 12 games at Four Seasons. I paid $14,000 in rent and owed them $16,000 according to lease terms I never f**king agreed to!!!

    Get it, moron? I’m sick and f**king tired of being dragged through the mud by the people and newspaper of this town who are saying I haven’t paid rent.
    Without me this team would not have played a single f**king game. It’s now mid-february. I have not received a single f**king dime in revenue.
    Nothing from ticket sales, nothing from sponsors. All that money went to Joe Clark before I arrived.

    Last Wednesday I met with Ogg and his two stooges. They told me that I needed to get them a cashier’s check for $16,000 by close of business last Friday or they wouldn’t set up my court for this week’s games. When I failed to deliver the check, they changed the locks on the Explorer’s office. My luggage is in there. My garment bag with six suits, a dozen shirts and all my clean underwear, not to mention two computers with all the financial dealings of the franchise, a $12,000 copy machine and $3,000 worth of Explorers merchandise has been locked inside all week.

    My only choice now is to barnstorm around high school gyms for the rest of the month playing for whatever gate receipts we can generate. Under my guidance, we’ve now played 33 games. Every cent has come out of my personal checking account to the tune of $195,000. Could you do that, bigshot?
    Nope, you’re not as dumb as me, I’ll give you that.

    This is not my town. I’ve been living in a hotel for three months. I had heart surgery on January 2nd in Seattle. Pissing away hundreds of thousands of dollars on minor league sports like CBA and arena football has cost me my marriage. I have put together one of the best teams in the league. We will absolutely have a playoff series in Great Falls this season, and who knows what could happen then? I don’t need to be worshipped. I don’t even need to be thanked or liked for that matter. But, it’s pinheads like you who make me wonder why I bother.

    I’m just stupid, I guess. That’s my excuse anyway. What’s yours?

    Michael Tuckman
    President and CEO
    West Coast Sports, LLC


    Office: (406) 216-3033
    Cell: (406) 750-7148

    If the Great Falls Explorers truly want to become the PROFESSIONAL CBA
    basketball team representing the City of Great Falls,
    >then it is imperative to plan ahead and find a location in Great Falls,
    Montana for the team to play.

    Can my name please be removed from this list!?!?

    Anyone who follows small town minor league teams already knows how this is going to end-poorly with many innocent, well-intentioned people from GF holding the bag. (Ask Ryan Acra, who kept the Explorers in town for a second year by providing a quality show every night and was rewarded by getting ripped off by both Tuckman AND the Apex owner.) When the season’s over, the Explores will be no more and GF people will be out a lot of money. And the after effect will be that the GF community won’t ever allow such a venture again, at least not without lots of cash upfront.

    It will come as no surprise to me (or most people) that when Mr. Giese is writing the final obituary on the Explorers, it will include the sentence “Calls to Tuckman were not returned.” and “Ogg said he is considering legal action to recoup the money.”

    Sad but true.

  4. Regardless of the details of the situation, that email is a disgusting way for a “businessman” to handle himself, especially when he knows he’s in the public eye due to recent events. I’d hate to not have the team here in Great Falls, but I think at this point Tuckman’s presence is doing more harm than good for Great Falls’ reputation in the CBA. Think he’ll ever fulfill his idle threats and take the team to Seattle? Given his past issues in Bellevue and current issues in Vancouver, I doubt Seattle wants him either!

  5. This guy is a Pathological liar, everything he says about himself is false. He was never an attorney, I have checked and he has not taken the bar in any state! He is a disgrace to sports.

  6. Tuckman has NEVER been married either. He IS a pathological liar. ANYONE doing ANY kind of business with him will lose a lot more than cash.

  7. Wow you guys really don’t like this guy. Oh well, seems to me CBA and his LAW FIRM support him.

    You hick town loosers are a joke and I dont care

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