Well, there are a couple issues here. The first has to be the legal disposition of a franchise. As you said, he has behaved oddly by paying but not participating. If you have rules to fire an owner, use them. If not, pass them and add them to the Constitution. Second, you are recruiting into a subpar situation. Personally, I believe there is some implied leeway here in more expensive leagues. A new owner should get his money's worth at Year Two at the latest. We simply announce to the league about an active recruiting effort and that the new entry will include NEGOTIATION. If all agree and a new player is identified, take the lead and negotiate a deal. The best deals here are allowing concessions that still make it tough on the new guy but make it at least possible to rebuild. At that time, take the new deal back to the league for vote/general approval/major objections.
This style has been used in all 3 of my leagues.