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Sunday Focus: Marlins owner fully committed


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Marlins owner fully committed

 

Driven and determined, and backed by Major League Baseball, Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is adding a chapter to his unique career.

 

BY BARRY JACKSON

[email protected]

 

 

Jeffrey Loria's eight-year journey as a big-league baseball owner has included an unusual trade of one franchise for another, a World Series title, a lawsuit from his partners, a roster dismantling, a very public squabble with his handpicked manager and an unsuccessful pursuit of new stadiums in South Florida and Montreal.

 

''I can't think of a more unique eight-year run for a major-league owner in our lifetime,'' said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Limited, a leading U.S. sports consultancy firm.

 

But as Loria completes his fifth season as Marlins owner, the franchise remains at a crossroads, its future clouded by an inability to secure a new ballpark. Though so much about the Marlins' future is unclear, Loria remains steadfast about continuing to steer the ship.

 

''Jeffrey will never sell this team,'' Marlins president David Samson reiterated last week. ``Nothing and no one could ever change his mind about that.''

 

Some critics, including former Miami city manager Joe Arriola, have said the Marlins need an owner with deeper pockets to complete a deal for a new stadium, even though two deep-pocketed owners (Wayne Huizenga and John Henry) failed previously in those attempts.

 

Major League Baseball disagrees with those critics.

 

MLB president and chief executive officer Robert DuPuy said last week that baseball has not -- and will not -- ask Loria to sell the franchise to a wealthier owner, or anyone else, for that matter. ''Absolutely not,'' DuPuy said. ``Bringing in a new owner isn't going to change the dynamics.''

 

DuPuy and another high-ranking MLB official said there have been no discussions to seize the Marlins from Loria and give him another franchise in exchange -- similar to the 2002 deal that essentially allowed Loria to trade the Expos for the Marlins.

 

Also, DuPuy said baseball has not -- and will not -- ask Loria to contribute more money toward a stadium. The Marlins' most recent offer was $212 million -- $182 million in future rent and $30 million up front. A stadium is expected to cost in excess of $450 million, and even with Miami-Dade County having offered in the $120 million range, a funding gap of about $120 million remains.

 

''The contribution put on the table by the Marlins is one of the most significant of the new ballparks being built,'' DuPuy said. ``The community has to provide resources to the club.''

 

Loria, who is declining all interview requests, has a good relationship with -- and the support of -- commissioner Bud Selig, according to officials close to both men.

 

STADIUM ISSUES

 

Meanwhile, the franchise's pursuit of a new stadium inches forward, with signs of progress but considerable obstacles remaining at both sites under consideration -- downtown Miami (adjacent to Miami Arena) and Hialeah. No deal is imminent at either location, Samson said.

 

Because of the lack of progress on a stadium deal, Loria is about to receive a financial concession.

 

After the 2001 season, MLB paid Loria $120 million for the Expos, then loaned him $38.5 million so he could complete the $158.5 million purchase of the Marlins from Henry, who bought the Boston Red Sox.

 

But under terms of the deal, $15 million of the loan will be forgiven if a ballpark is not under construction within five years of his purchase of the team. Because it's impossible to envision construction beginning as early as next February, Loria will be obligated to pay back only $23.5 million of the loan, with no interest.

 

Under any timetable, baseball will receive 20 percent of the Marlins' operating profit during the first five years in a new stadium.

 

For now, the prospects of a new stadium remain murky. Samson said he's not sure which site is more likely, but that talks are more advanced with Hialeah. Though a downtown Miami site is preferable to MLB, Samson said there would be enough space only if land on the Miami Arena site is used.

 

Developer Scott Silver, who has a deal to purchase Miami Arena from Glenn Straub for $50 million, said he has spoken to baseball officials about ''giving'' part of that land to MLB for a stadium deal. ''I'm hopeful we'd do a venture,'' said Silver, who envisions demolishing the arena and using part of the land for some combination of retail stores, a hotel or housing.

 

But Straub is contesting the sale, claiming Silver violated a confidentiality agreement by speaking with MLB about the site. Both parties have filed lawsuits, and that could slow baseball's efforts to acquire the land.

 

Though MLB has contracts in place (but not executed) to buy some of the land near Miami Arena, one official involved in the discussions believes MLB eventually would expect another party -- perhaps local government -- to pay for the land. DuPuy declined to address that. Also unresolved is how baseball would finance construction costs.

 

Though MLB has handled the downtown Miami stadium talks, DuPuy insisted that baseball has not assumed control of the entire stadium pursuit. ''The Marlins are involved in every step of the way,'' he said. ``We're not running anything.''

 

Samson said the Marlins continue to lead efforts for a stadium in Hialeah, but issues remain.

 

Hialeah Mayor Julio Robaina has said he wants to contribute only land, while proposing Miami-Dade County contributes property tax money from a proposed industrial park.

 

Miami-Dade County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez said he will not support putting the item on the agenda for a commission vote unless Hialeah offers to contribute some property tax money toward the project. Robaina would not say if he has changed his position in light of Martinez's stance.

 

DuPuy said Hialeah ''continues to be an option,'' but declined to weigh the merits of that site against the downtown Miami site.

 

A meeting among MLB, Hialeah, county and Marlins officials was postponed on Thursday because DuPuy is busy with negotiations on a new labor agreement with the players union.

 

DuPuy also said MLB and the Marlins still consider Huizenga-owned land adjacent to Dolphin Stadium to be a possibility, but added that site hasn't been discussed in several months.

 

The Marlins previously had discussions with San Antonio before breaking them off in June when the Texas city gave the team a deadline. Samson would not say when, or if, the Marlins would resume conversations with other cities.

 

STILL COMMITTED

 

Is baseball losing patience after trying 10 years to get a stadium in South Florida? ''No,'' DuPuy said. ``Obviously, we've been through three different ownership groups and been through a long time in the community, but we've been through a long time in other communities as well.''

 

DuPuy reiterated MLB's desire for the team to remain in South Florida. ''This commissioner has been very reluctant to allow teams to relocate,'' he said. ``Look at how hard we tried to keep the Expos in Montreal [before moving to Washington]. He considers relocation to be a last resort.''

 

But has the poor turnout at Marlins games -- the team will finish last in baseball in attendance -- caused MLB to question the viability of the South Florida market?

 

''In a destination point and with an appropriate [stadium], the fans will come out,'' DuPuy said.

 

Two officials with knowledge of the downtown stadium talks say the idea of an open-air stadium has been raised, but the Marlins feel strongly about a retractable roof.

 

Even though eliminating the retractable dome could chop $100 million off the project, DuPuy said MLB would not consider asking Loria to build an open-air stadium. ''The owner has made it clear climate control in a dome is essential,'' he said.

 

CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE

 

The pursuit of public funding for a stadium is only one of a number of controversial issues that have ensnared Loria during his roller-coaster ride as a big-league owner.

 

A leading international art dealer since 1961, Loria broke into baseball as owner of a Triple A team in Oklahoma City from 1989 to 1993.

 

He purchased 24 percent of the Expos in 1999, then increased his share to 92 percent after making cash calls from February through August 2000.

 

But fans and media in Montreal blamed Loria for failing to get a new stadium or securing the Expos' future in Canada. After Loria sold the team to baseball in 2002, the Expos moved to Washington three years later.

 

Meanwhile, Loria encountered problems with his Expos partners, who became limited partners of the Marlins when Loria bought the team.

 

The 14 Canadian businessmen who once owned 76 percent of the Expos filed a lawsuit in 2002, alleging Loria, Selig and MLB conspired to give Loria control of the Expos as part of a hidden plan for Loria to later exchange the team for the Marlins.

 

A judge sent the claims against Loria to arbitration, and in 2004, three New York-based arbitrators unanimously dismissed them. ''The claimants find it objectionable that Loria was able to acquire 92 percent of the Expos for only $35-$40 million, but claimants have themselves to blame,'' the ruling said.

 

Those 14 partners and several friends of Loria now own about 5 percent of the Marlins, with Loria owning the rest.

 

After being praised by South Florida fans for winning a World Series in 2003 and spending $52 million to sign Carlos Delgado before the 2005 season, Loria has been criticized this year, partly for the payroll slashing but more so for the expected firing of manager Joe Girardi.

 

''Two things that Loria has done as an owner have to be viewed enormously positive -- winning a world championship and his persistence on the [stadium issue],'' Ganis said. ``To have [close to] a .500 team with a modest payroll and low attendance, that's to be admired.''

 

But Ganis points to his inability to close a stadium deal as Loria's biggest negative -- a distinction shared by past owners Huizenga and Henry.

 

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/sport...ll/15652587.htm

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Cutting throught the financial BS that the owners constantly spew, which has been thouroughly shown to be a crock, the gist of this article, if you read between the lines a little, is

 

GOOD BYE MARLINS!

 

- Stadium costs at $450 million and rising. (The number is probably understated, on purpose. The Nationals' new place is being built for $611 million.)

 

- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

 

- Therefore, a shortage now of $300 million to get it built; even if you count the future rent, a shortage of $120 million

 

- We live in one of the poorest major metropolitan areas in the US

 

- The Marlins and MLB repeatedly have said they will not stay without a taxpayer-funded stadium. The last case in which such a threat was made was Montreal, and they moved that team to a city willing to pony up the funds. Same owner, same tactics, same result.

 

- Many cities are hungry for the recognition they foolishly believe that getting a team would bring them. They will be lining up to give Loria the $120 million more he seeks. For example, DC is building a $611 million stadium for the Nationals. The owner, MLB , is contributing only $20 million, yet plans to sell the franchise for $450 million (based in large part on the sweetheart deal for a stadium built with public funds).

 

All this means is that we cannot afford what MLB will demand, so:

 

GOOD BYE MARLINS!

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- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

Future rents are pledged as collateral on loans all the time. I agree that $182 million in future rents does not equate to $182m in present dollars, but it's worth something... probably about $90-$100m net present value depending on interest rates and the term of the bond.

 

Miami or Hialeah can certainly "afford" this. It's just a matter of whether the local pols want to commit the political capital (along with general fund revenues, "but for" revenues, and/or development rights) to make it happen.

 

MLB is a long ways from giving up on the SFLA market. Despite Samson's protests to the contrary, I would be willing to bet on "Good Bye, Loria" before "Good Bye, Marlins".

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- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

Future rents are pledged as collateral on loans all the time. I agree that $182 million in future rents does not equate to $182m in present dollars, but it's worth something... probably about $90-$100m net present value depending on interest rates and the term of the bond.

 

Miami or Hialeah can certainly "afford" this. It's just a matter of whether the local pols want to commit the political capital (along with general fund revenues, "but for" revenues, and/or development rights) to make it happen.

 

MLB is a long ways from giving up on the SFLA market. Despite Samson's protests to the contrary, I would be willing to bet on "Good Bye, Loria" before "Good Bye, Marlins".

 

Why is it assumed that if MLB lets Loria leave for greener pastures that they will be "giving up on the SFLA market?" I believe it might be unwise to make that assumption.

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- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

Future rents are pledged as collateral on loans all the time. I agree that $182 million in future rents does not equate to $182m in present dollars, but it's worth something... probably about $90-$100m net present value depending on interest rates and the term of the bond.

 

Miami or Hialeah can certainly "afford" this. It's just a matter of whether the local pols want to commit the political capital (along with general fund revenues, "but for" revenues, and/or development rights) to make it happen.

 

MLB is a long ways from giving up on the SFLA market. Despite Samson's protests to the contrary, I would be willing to bet on "Good Bye, Loria" before "Good Bye, Marlins".

 

 

Of course future rents can be pledged as collateral by the City/County. That's not the issue. They are not a capital contribution by the Marlins, they are payments to be made in the future for the right to occupy the building in the future. Ifthe City can borrow against them, more power to it, but the Marlins are paying it for rent, not as part of the initial capital required for construction.

 

 

Miami and Hialeah cannot afford this. Your talking about 2 of the poorest big cities in the US. They could, in the legal sense, vote to fund it, but it would be reckless and I think there's no way it will happen. Even the most rabid pro stadium people in each CIty have NEVER talked about even coming close to covering the purported shortfall (which, as the DC stadium proves, is probably $150 million or so higher than the Marlins admit, or about $270 million).

 

I hope you're right about "Goodbye, Loria," but I don't see the evidence. Even after 2 World Series victories, and with a good young team fighting to make the playoffs, attendance was horrrible. It has never been good except the first few "honeymoon" years. I don't think MLB wants to stay and lose money, or fund a greedy Loria with revenue sharing that he does not spend on the field, absent a public contribution of much more than is on the table, and I don' t see even the corrupt polticos in South Florida meeting that demand.

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- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

Future rents are pledged as collateral on loans all the time. I agree that $182 million in future rents does not equate to $182m in present dollars, but it's worth something... probably about $90-$100m net present value depending on interest rates and the term of the bond.

 

Miami or Hialeah can certainly "afford" this. It's just a matter of whether the local pols want to commit the political capital (along with general fund revenues, "but for" revenues, and/or development rights) to make it happen.

 

MLB is a long ways from giving up on the SFLA market. Despite Samson's protests to the contrary, I would be willing to bet on "Good Bye, Loria" before "Good Bye, Marlins".

 

 

Of course future rents can be pledged as collateral by the City/County. That's not the issue. They are not a capital contribution by the Marlins, they are payments to be made in the future for the right to occupy the building in the future. Ifthe City can borrow against them, more power to it, but the Marlins are paying it for rent, not as part of the initial capital required for construction.

 

 

Miami and Hialeah cannot afford this. Your talking about 2 of the poorest big cities in the US. They could, in the legal sense, vote to fund it, but it would be reckless and I think there's no way it will happen. Even the most rabid pro stadium people in each CIty have NEVER talked about even coming close to covering the purported shortfall (which, as the DC stadium proves, is probably $150 million or so higher than the Marlins admit, or about $270 million).

 

I hope you're right about "Goodbye, Loria," but I don't see the evidence. Even after 2 World Series victories, and with a good young team fighting to make the playoffs, attendance was horrrible. It has never been good except the first few "honeymoon" years. I don't think MLB wants to stay and lose money, or fund a greedy Loria with revenue sharing that he does not spend on the field, absent a public contribution of much more than is on the table, and I don' t see even the corrupt polticos in South Florida meeting that demand.

 

The county will be paying for the $192 million so the stadium is built and the Marlins would pay it off over the next 30 years.

 

The county and the city can afford it because they already approved funding. :thumbup

 

You don't know what you're talking about.......ever.

 

Stop spewing your garbage.

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- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

Future rents are pledged as collateral on loans all the time. I agree that $182 million in future rents does not equate to $182m in present dollars, but it's worth something... probably about $90-$100m net present value depending on interest rates and the term of the bond.

 

Miami or Hialeah can certainly "afford" this. It's just a matter of whether the local pols want to commit the political capital (along with general fund revenues, "but for" revenues, and/or development rights) to make it happen.

 

MLB is a long ways from giving up on the SFLA market. Despite Samson's protests to the contrary, I would be willing to bet on "Good Bye, Loria" before "Good Bye, Marlins".

 

 

Of course future rents can be pledged as collateral by the City/County. That's not the issue. They are not a capital contribution by the Marlins, they are payments to be made in the future for the right to occupy the building in the future. Ifthe City can borrow against them, more power to it, but the Marlins are paying it for rent, not as part of the initial capital required for construction.

 

 

Miami and Hialeah cannot afford this. Your talking about 2 of the poorest big cities in the US. They could, in the legal sense, vote to fund it, but it would be reckless and I think there's no way it will happen. Even the most rabid pro stadium people in each CIty have NEVER talked about even coming close to covering the purported shortfall (which, as the DC stadium proves, is probably $150 million or so higher than the Marlins admit, or about $270 million).

 

I hope you're right about "Goodbye, Loria," but I don't see the evidence. Even after 2 World Series victories, and with a good young team fighting to make the playoffs, attendance was horrrible. It has never been good except the first few "honeymoon" years. I don't think MLB wants to stay and lose money, or fund a greedy Loria with revenue sharing that he does not spend on the field, absent a public contribution of much more than is on the table, and I don' t see even the corrupt polticos in South Florida meeting that demand.

 

The county will be paying for the $192 million so the stadium is built and the Marlins would pay it off over the next 30 years.

 

The county and the city can afford it because they already approved funding. :thumbup

 

You don't know what you're talking about.......ever.

 

Stop spewing your garbage.

 

 

Are you misleading people here on purpose, or out of ignorance? At any rate, speaking of garbage, you had the gall to make this up:

 

The county and the city can afford it because they already approved funding

 

ROFLMAO! And you say I don't know what I'm talking about? Wise up, and learn something kid. The truth is that as of this morning there is a AT LEAST a $120 million gap, according to the Herald:

 

Also, DuPuy said baseball has not -- and will not -- ask Loria to contribute more money toward a stadium. The Marlins' most recent offer was $212 million -- $182 million in future rent and $30 million up front. A stadium is expected to cost in excess of $450 million, and even with Miami-Dade County having offered in the $120 million range, a funding gap of about $120 million remains

 

 

Next time, get your facts straight, instead of proving to all of us that you don' t know what's going on.

 

As it is, your credibility is ZERO!

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You weren't talking about the funding gap, you were talking about the Marlins $212 million contribution.

 

- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

 

But nice job trying to twist facts again.

 

f***ing troll.

 

I'm not going to respond to your posts anymore, because you have proven in more than a few threads that you're an idiot that has an unusal fascination with trashing the organization and making up half truths to fit your "argument." I'm not sure why the mods haven't banned you yet.

 

*uses ignore feature*

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You weren't talking about the funding gap, you were talking about the Marlins $212 million contribution.

 

- Marlins contributibng only $30 million up front (the rest of their contribution is future "rent" which isn't really a capital contribution. This is typical MLB financial obfuscation. When someone builds an apartment building, he can't count his tenants' future rent as a "contribution" to the capital needed. He needs cash to build!)

 

But nice job trying to twist facts again.

 

f***ing troll.

 

I'm not going to respond to your posts anymore, because you have proven in more than a few threads that you're an idiot that has an unusal fascination with trashing the organization and making up half truths to fit your "argument." I'm not sure why the mods haven't banned you yet.

 

*uses ignore feature*

 

That is a poor excuse for a defense of your false statement, Quadruple. You can't just ignore it, then make up another bogus attack, trying to take the spotlight off of your malfeasance.

 

Where's the explanation for your having made up a fake story about the funding being approved? I guess you thought you had better try to change the subject. But it doesn't work.

 

Well, anyway, given your lack of knowledge of the stadium funding situation, and your avoiding the question when you were caught, means all I can say is: good riddance to you.

 

BTW, it is not "trashing" the organization to point out facts, and give my opinion on those facts. They, and you , need to learn to be man enough to own up to their actions. And if you really think I said something that is a half-truth (which would be at least a half more than you used) please point it out so I can show everyone you're wrong. I don't expect you've had accounting 101 yet, but when you do you'll learn that what I said is 100% correct. Until then, be more careful in your comments.

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Money approved by the County Commission:

 

http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/legista...2006/060420.pdf

 

George Burgess report to County Commission February of this year.

 

Speaking of credibility, haven't your "facts" been disproven in another threads by rferry and Marlins2003, oh lets not forget The Herald article you edited. You are far from credible and everyone here knows it.

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Catch lecturing anyone on credibility is really laughable. Honestly, I found myself laughing out loud :D

 

Sometimes I can't figure out if it's stupidity or ignorance or by design that after three plus years on this subject he pretends to not understand the funding mechanism already in place and approved by the voters of Miami-Dade county.

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