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Monday, May 17, 2004
 

Loria and MLB Arbitration Begins Today: The arbitration hearings begin today in the fraud case against Jeffrey Loria and Major League Baseball. The hearings center on the lawsuit filed under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act lawsuit filed by 14 former minority partners in the Montreal Expos. The partners claim that Loria, who owned the Expos from 1999 to 2002, hoped to sabotage the team's operations in the hopes of getting the team to move elsewhere:

    The minority partners, who now own about 6 percent of the Marlins, filed a lawsuit and arbitration case in July 2002, claiming Loria undermined operation of the Expos so they could be moved or folded. The case seeks millions of dollars in damages and also names Marlins President David Samson and two companies run by Loria.

    "The claim is that Jeffrey Loria and David Samson never intended to keep the team in Montreal," said Jeffrey Kessler, a Dewey Ballantine attorney representing the Canadian partners. "From the very beginning, they intended to destroy the plans in place to build a new stadium, sell bonds, bring in investors and make the team viable in Montreal because they wanted to own a team somewhere in the U.S."

Any findings made by the three-member arbitration panel are binding and will likely influence the outcome of the RICO trial. The hearings are supposed to last several months and will feature the testimony of over thirty witnesses. Unlike a trial, though, arbitration proceedings are held in camera, meaning that little, if anything, will be made public, including the reasoning behind the decision.

Hat Tip: Business of Baseball





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