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Monday, October 26, 2020

Spokesperson: Mayor Bill de Blasio still ‘evaluating’ Mets sale to Steve Cohen

The office of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets is not yet a done deal.

“At this point the Mayor and his office are evaluating,” de Blasio spokesperson Bill Neidhardt told SNY on Friday afternoon.

If this evaluation stretches into next week, it could delay the vote among MLB owners on whether to approve Cohen as the Mets’ new owner. The Mets are hoping for the vote to occur next Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. But they need de Blasio to move forward first.

As first reported by USA Today, de Blasio has the right to block the sale to “any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.’’

The company that Cohen founded, S.A.C. Capital, pleaded guilty in 2018 to securities fraud and wire fraud and paid $1.8 billion in fines. But Cohen was not personally charged with a crime, making it unclear what grounds de Blasio would have to block the deal.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 12:36 PM | 37 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:01 PM (#5985472)
This sounds like the English Premier League's "Fit and Proper Persons" test that virtually never gets invoked.
   2. Athletic Supporter is USDA certified lean Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:09 PM (#5985474)
I'm struggling to come up with any way this isn't code for "waiting for a bribe".
   3. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:42 PM (#5985487)
TFA doesn't mention it, so I'm still curious what gives DeBlasio this right?
   4. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5985488)
I'm struggling to come up with any way this isn't code for "waiting for a bribe".
Owners and MLB do it to cities all the time, I kinda like the shoe being on the other foot if De Blasio can leverage it into something of value for the city. Especially when the guy on the receiving end looks to have, at best, questionable business practices.
   5. Benji Gil Gamesh VII - The Opt-Out Awakens Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:45 PM (#5985489)
@#3, looks like this has at least some details.

Edit: note that that article is making suppositions that seem like they may be too far in the other direction on how likely it is De Blasio can quash the deal.
   6. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:47 PM (#5985491)
TFA doesn't mention it, so I'm still curious what gives DeBlasio this right?


It's part of the Citi Field lease contract. Citi Field is owned by the city so the city has some power over who is allowed to lease the stadium to host their base-ball club.

From an NYT article last week:

The Citi Field lease states that a transfer of ownership is a “permitted transaction” only if the buyer is not a “prohibited person.” The lease agreement defines a “prohibited person” as anyone who “directly or indirectly controls, is controlled by, or is under common control with a person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.”


This seems unlikely since Cohen shut down the hedge fund company that committed the insider trading so he no longer "controls" anything, and he himself was not indicted let alone convicted. For more on the lengthy saga to try to make Cohen personally liable for his firm's misdeeds see the popular TV show "Billions".
   7. winnipegwhip Posted: October 26, 2020 at 01:59 PM (#5985496)
The bribe payment to DeBlasio may be coming from Jerry Reinsdorf who voted against Cohen in the MLB ownership committee.

Reinsdorf has been an outspoken opponent of Cohen obtaining the team.
   8. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 26, 2020 at 02:36 PM (#5985508)

What are the consequences of a non-permitted transaction taking place? That will tell you how much leverage Di Blasio actually has here.
   9. The Duke Posted: October 26, 2020 at 03:50 PM (#5985527)
The consequences are that Cohen will move the team to New Jersey and then you would have the New Jersey Mets and the New Jersey Nets
   10. Rally Posted: October 26, 2020 at 04:04 PM (#5985531)
Nets are now in Brooklyn. Jersey needs a team.
   11. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:14 PM (#5985546)
That seems like a weird thing to think to put into a huge commercial lease, much less something to actually put into it. Is a clause like that an ordinary thing to put into a lease like this? You wouldn't think that the city would care if the team owner is a felon.

The link in 5 makes it sound like DeBlasio has discretion over whether to approve someone on the prohibited buyers list (as opposed to the transaction simply being prohibited). Which one would think means that New York can cash in here. Unless there are laws against that kind of thing. (I'm not contemplating DeBlasio asking for a bribe, I'm contemplating New York itself asking for a payoff to approve a sale to a prohibited party.)
   12. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:15 PM (#5985547)
this is a former Bloomberg reporter who is legit:

Scott Soshnick
@soshnick
Jeff Wilpon held Zoom call with @Mets employees today. One person on call said: `It was definitely a goodbye.' Wilpon talked highs: 2015 World Series; Building CitiField and lows: not winning as much. Call lasted 15-20 mins. Wilpon named people with many years w/ club #sportsbiz
   13. Walt Davis Posted: October 26, 2020 at 05:43 PM (#5985560)
#11: This surprises you these days? You think a city government wants the scandal of renting one of its facilities to someone convicted/strongly accused of partner abuse or sexual assault, a foreign oligarch, fomentor of conspiracy theories, etc.

Now, language nerds -- turpitude. A great word but is there any type of turpitude other than "moral?"
   14. Howie Menckel Posted: October 26, 2020 at 06:47 PM (#5985572)
turpitude - seems like a perfectly cromulent word to me!
   15. BillWallace Posted: October 26, 2020 at 06:53 PM (#5985573)
Well the definition that came up for me is 'wickedness or depravity'. The question then is can you separate the concept of wickedness from morality? It would seem not. My first thought would be something like financial turpitude, but I don't think that works, and certainly doesn't absolve Cohen in any case!
   16. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 26, 2020 at 07:22 PM (#5985580)
You think a city government wants the scandal of renting one of its facilities to someone convicted/strongly accused of partner abuse or sexual assault, a foreign oligarch, fomentor of conspiracy theories, etc.

Washington, D.C., rented its most famous facility to such a man. Ouch! (Well, at least someone whose best friends/creditors are all foreign oligarchs.)
   17. winnipegwhip Posted: October 27, 2020 at 12:52 AM (#5985608)
DeBlasio got worried when the head of one of ARod's half brothers was found in his bed.
   18. Addie Joss Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:08 AM (#5985610)
Physical turpitude, metaphysical turpitude, spiritual turpitude, turpentine turpitude.
   19. Obo Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:11 AM (#5985611)
The largely redundant "moral" is there to help out those who don't know what "turpitude" means.
   20. asinwreck Posted: October 27, 2020 at 01:32 PM (#5985688)
Mel Turpin had a sad life.
   21. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 27, 2020 at 10:04 PM (#5985822)
I'm struggling to come up with any way this isn't code for "waiting for a bribe".
Future payment for past services might suffice.
   22. Adam Starblind Posted: October 28, 2020 at 08:42 AM (#5986040)
I'm struggling to come up with any way this isn't code for "waiting for a bribe".


I'll offer a benign alternative, that I am not saying is the truth: DeBlasio wants to share in the credit for making it happen -- a new golden age of Mets. He's not going to be remembered fondly for much, so maybe he wants to put the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on a deal that will bring the city together, etc. etc. Or at least the 1/3 that prefer the Mets.
   23. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 29, 2020 at 01:57 AM (#5986375)
Bill de Blassio Trying To Kill Mets Sale To Cohen:
Bill de Blasio has privately told Major League Baseball that he will do everything he can to stop Steve Cohen from buying the Mets. The Post has learned that Hizzoner called MLB commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this month and told him outright that he opposed the idea of a hedge-fund billionaire buying a local team and would be using his oversight power of the city’s control of the Citi Field lease to prevent the sale from being finalized.
Sounds rather Metsy. There seems to be some suggestion that this is more than de Blasio seeking a payoff or carrying a grudge, but more that he’s still actively backing another horse in the race:
But there is nothing reasonable about this, and it doesn’t exactly take an extraordinary leap to connect a few of the dots and see where de Blasio’s rooting interest lies. A key Cohen opponent is State Senator Jessica Ramos, who also had a hand in scuttling the Amazon fiasco in 2019, when the shipping giant pulled out of a planned expansion into Long Island City that would have brought 25,000 jobs here. Sources told the Post that Ramos has been in contact with City Hall about the Mets sale. That’s one dot. But here’s the more important one: Ramos also penned an op-ed in July endorsing the sale of the Mets to the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. And there it is.

The third dot in this wicked power play is Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox and an avowed opponent of Cohen’s bid. Reinsdorf has been furiously attempting to compile a bloc of “no” votes in advance of Friday (to little effect, reportedly, at least so far). Reinsdorf is also an acknowledged supporter of the Rodriguez/Lopez bid to buy the Mets.
Who knew A-Rod had all the politicians in New York, and won’t share them?
   24. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 29, 2020 at 03:59 AM (#5986378)
I find it hard to believe that the mayor will be able to block the sale to Cohen based on a morals clause and then allow a sale to an ownership group led by a guy who literally admitted to cheating at baseball multiple times. The litigation will certainly be entertaining, unless Cohen just decides it’s not worth the hassle.
   25. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2020 at 07:57 AM (#5986381)
Headless Commenter in Topless Thread
   26. JJ1986 Posted: October 29, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5986417)
I tend to think this is all just the A-Rod group 'leaking' things to friendly media.
   27. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2020 at 10:41 AM (#5986420)
Mr. October weighs in:

Reggie Jackson
@mroctober
Wishing my friend and New Yorker Steve Cohen, a successful MLB vote Friday to join Baseballs fraternity. He’s a lifetime fan. He’s wanted the team since the day I “Met” him. I’m sure he’ll get the great Met franchise back on its winning ways. MLB and the city need him. Go my man
9:52 AM · Oct 29, 2020
   28. Buck Coats Posted: October 29, 2020 at 01:23 PM (#5986455)
I find it hard to believe that the mayor will be able to block the sale to Cohen based on a morals clause and then allow a sale to an ownership group led by a guy who literally admitted to cheating at baseball multiple times. The litigation will certainly be entertaining, unless Cohen just decides it’s not worth the hassle.


Well only one of them committed a crime...
   29. Adam Starblind Posted: October 29, 2020 at 01:32 PM (#5986459)

Well only one of them committed a crime...


WITCH HUNT!
   30. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2020 at 02:28 PM (#5986488)
typical tepid take by a NYC tabloid sports columnist:

Mike Vaccaro
@MikeVacc
Column: Alex Rodriguez isn’t just a cheat, he’s a sore loser. Now he has a gasbag enabler in Bill De Blasio, his clear mission to have each of the citizens he serves detest him by the time he mercifully leaves office — #Mets fans at the front of the line.
   31. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:05 PM (#5986606)
MLB not waiting on de Blasio, will vote on Cohen via video conference on Friday. Hard to believe Cohen’s bid could falter in the home stretch, after getting MLB approval, even.
   32. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:10 PM (#5986608)
if I'm understanding this correctly, de Blasio can't block the sale - but he can prevent the Cohen-owned Mets from playing in NYC (maybe).

but I could be wrong.
   33. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: October 29, 2020 at 09:58 PM (#5986619)
Well only one of them committed a crime...

Which one?
   34. Lassus Posted: October 29, 2020 at 10:01 PM (#5986621)
but he can prevent the Cohen-owned Mets from playing in NYC (maybe).

He would not survive that. Perhaps literally.
   35. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: October 29, 2020 at 11:32 PM (#5986627)
the idea of a hedge-fund billionaire buying a local team


As opposed to the Wilpons, who made their money running a lemonade stand?
   36. Howie Menckel Posted: October 29, 2020 at 11:40 PM (#5986629)
as an area resident, I can say with certainty that NYC folks would NEVER put up with a baseball owner who was within miles of anyone who perhaps even knew a convicted felon or two like this.

if there was an owner of an NYC baseball team that WAS a convicted felon, well, the stands would be empty. a bridge too far, as they say.

Yankees and Mets fans will unite in their objection to this travesty, no doubt.
   37. Adam Starblind Posted: October 30, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5986709)
Both the owners and De Blasio just approved the sale to Cohen. I can't believe this is happening. We're rich!!!!

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