Alex Rodriguez AP

New York Daily News trying to paint A-Rod as a deadbeat regarding his legal fees

36 Comments

The New York Daily News has a story up today in which they try to paint Alex Rodriguez as a deadbeat for unpaid legal fees. Specifically, they have a source telling them that “A-Rod hasn’t paid millions of dollars in legal bills he owes.” Even more specifically “Rodriguez has paid some of the bills, the source said, but he still owes his attorneys and private investigators as much as $3 million for the work they did.”

Setting aside for a moment that that construction — “he has paid some of what he owes but not all, so he may be a deadbeat” — could apply to every person with a car payment and a mortgage, this is beyond silly. Multi-million dollar legal bills are not like your electric bill. They’re not typically turned around ASAP lest you start getting late notices. There is always negotiation about specifics of the charges. At least if the client is being prudent there is.

Giant corporations review their bills because — this may be a shocker to you — not everything that appears on an attorney’s bill is always legitimate. Indeed, a big reason businesses get into trouble is simply cutting checks to their attorneys without scrutiny or negotiation for whatever the attorneys say is charged. That’s how double billing and all manner of attorney shenanigans happens. And that’s from even the most respectable attorneys. If I got a bill from Joe Tacopina, I’d be inclined to go over it a bit.

A-Rod dropped his case against Major League Baseball on February 7. It’s now March 20. If he was given a final bill for services after that it’d probably be no more than a month or so since he received it. To butcher a quote, A-Rod is not just a businessman, he’s a business, man. If he doesn’t have someone close to him whose job it is to make sure he’s not getting fleeced, he’s doing it wrong. And while A-Rod does a lot wrong, parting with his money willy-nilly doesn’t seem like one of them.

But I suppose that’s all just speculation. Let’s see what the attorneys who are allegedly being stiffed say:

In a statement to The News, Tacopina denied he has had problems collecting his fee from Rodriguez.

“I have absolutely no fee dispute whatsoever with Alex,” Tacopina said. “He has been entirely fair and responsible with respect to the payment of my fees.”

Hmm. Maybe it was one of his other lawyers:

Cornwell declined to comment for this story. Reed Smith partners Jordan Siev and James McCarroll, and Davis, did not return requests for comment.

Rodriguez also allegedly owes money to Guidepost Solutions, the private investigation firm that worked for Rodriguez last year. A Guidepost spokeswoman said the firm had no comment.

Guess not.

I have no doubt that A-Rod has not remitted his outstanding legal fees in full. But at this point in any case Microsoft, General Electric and Exxon-Mobil hasn’t paid outstanding legal bills either. He paid a retainer early or else these guys whouldn’t have lifted a finger. As the Daily News itself notes he has paid some amount of the bills, which suggests that he paid monthly bills as they rolled in. There is likely some haggling going on and maybe a bit of foot-dragging occurring over the final balance. Haggling and foot-dragging the likes of which occurs in every single case of size ever. News flash: people hate paying lawyers.

But hey, if it gives the Daily News yet another chance to paint A-Rod as a terrible awful monster, no need to dwell on these sorts of details.

The Chicago Cubs dramatically jack up ticket prices

Wrigley Field
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Cubs won the World Series. Now Cubs fans are going to pay through the nose for the privilege of going to games at Wrigley Field: The club has raised season ticket prices for 2017, on average, 19.5%. The rate increases range from 6% for upper deck seats to 31% for infield club seats.

As a result of the increase, the Chicago Tribune reports, a single infield box seat on the dugout for 81 games will cost $29,089.76, or $359 per game. The cheapest season ticket, for upper-deck outfield seats, is $2,139.20, or $26 per game. Those figures include tax, so it’s practically a bargain.

The Cubs cite “unprecedented demand” for tickets as the reason for the increase. That’s likely true. Cubs tickets are expensive even when they aren’t playing well due to the draw that is Wrigley Field. Indeed, for years, when the product on the field suffered, there was a sense that people would go to the ballpark just for the fun of it in ways that fans rarely if ever do for other teams. The Cubs attendance increased dramatically in 2016 and tickets often experienced an equally dramatic increase on the secondary ticket market. The Cubs would be wise to try to capture as much of that profit as they can rather than see it go to others.

Still, that’s gonna smart for people who can’t afford season tickets and who just want to go to a one-off game with the kids and exacerbates the longstanding trend of baseball tickets becoming luxury items for the well-off.

Minor League Baseball established a political action committee to fight paying players more

DURHAM, NC - JULY 28:  The Chicago White Sox play the Most Valuable Prospects during the championship game of the 2011 Breakthrough Series at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park on July 28, 2011 in Durham, North Carolina.  Most Valuable Prospects won 17-2 over the Chicago White Sox. (Photo by Sara D. Davis/Getty Images)
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
6 Comments

Josh Norris of Baseball America reports that Minor League Baseball has established a political action committee to continue fighting against a lawsuit brought by a group of former minor league players seeking increased wages and back pay.

You may recall that, earlier this year, two members of Congress — Republican Brett Guthrie of Kentucky and Democrat Cheri Bustos of Illinois — introduced H.R. 5580 in the House of Representatives. Also known as the “Save America’s Pastime Act,” H.R. 5580 sought to change language in Section 13 of the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. In doing so, minor leaguers wouldn’t have been covered under a law that protects workers who are paid hourly. Minor League Baseball publicly endorsed the bill. Bustos withdrew her support after receiving widespread criticism.

The whole thing started when Sergio Miranda filed a lawsuit in 2014, accusing Major League Baseball teams of colluding to eliminate competition. The lawsuit challenged the reserve clause, which binds minor leaguers into contracts with their teams for seven years. That suit was dismissed in September 2015. However, another lawsuit was filed in October last year — known as Senne vs. the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball — alleging that minor leaguers were victims of violations of state and federal minimum wage laws. Senne et. al. suffered a setback this summer when U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco dismissed class certification. That essentially meant that the players could not file a class-action lawsuit. As a result, the players’ legal team led by Garrett Broshuis amended their case to only include players who play in one league for an entire season. As Norris notes, that means that the included players’ experiences are uniform enough for inclusion in a class-action lawsuit.

So that’s why Minor League Baseball established a political action committee (PAC). A PAC, for the unfamiliar, is an organization created with the intent of raising money to defeat a particular candidate, legislation, or ballot initiative. In other words, they’re getting serious and want Capitol Hill’s help.

Minor League Baseball president Stan Brand said, “Because of procedurally what has happened in the Congress and the difficulties in getting legislation, we’ve got to adjust to that. We were lucky. We had the ability because of the depth of the relationships and involvement in the communities to not have to worry about that. And now we do, I think. The PAC . . . gives us another tool to re-enforce who we are and why we’re important.”

Norris mentions in his column that Phillies minor league outfielder Dylan Cozens received the Joe Baumann Award for leading the minors with 40 home runs. That came with an $8,000 prize. Cozens said that the prize was more than he made all season. The minor league regular season spanned from April 7 to September 5, about six months. Athletes aren’t paid in the other six months which includes offseason training and spring training. They are also not paid for participating in instructional leagues and the Arizona Fall League. Minor leaguers lack union representation, which is why their fight for fair pay has been such an uphill battle.