Crane suing former Astros owner, Comcast and NBC

Houston, TX ( - The Houston Astros ownership group, led by Jim Crane, has filed a lawsuit against former owner Drayton McLane, Comcast and NBC Universal, accusing fraud and civil conspiracy.

Crane is also accusing McLane of breach of contract stemming from Crane's 2011 purchase of the Astros and McLane's 46 percent interest in the parent company of Comcast SportsNet Houston for a combined $615 million.

According to the Houston Chronicle, Crane is accusing McLane in the suit of selling "an asset (the network) they knew at the time to be overpriced and broken." It also says Crane was "duped" when he bought McLane's network interest based on what have proved to be "knowing misrepresentations" and "falsely inflated subscription rates."

The purchase price of the network was valued at $326 million.

Because of complicated subscriber rates and other broadcast fees, CSN Houston is available in only 40 percent of Houston households, which limits the network's revenues and prevents the network from paying a bulk of the Astros' $56.6 million rights fee for the 2013 season.

The suit asks for McLane's group to repay Crane's group for losses that resulted from the breach of contract.