The sale of the Miami Marlins to the Bruce Sherman/Derek Jeter group is complete, but there is still some accounting to be done. Maybe. If Jeff Loria holds up what is alleged to be his end of his deal with the people of Miami-Dade County, anyway. If not, the matter may very well wind up in court.
That’s because, per the Miami Herald, Loria was supposed to kick back a percentage of the sale proceeds of the team to the local government if the team was sold in a certain, specified period after the new ballpark the taxpayers underwrote opened:
Loria’s 2008 deal with Miami and Miami-Dade included payout provisions if he sold the team within six years of the 2012 opening of a county-owned ballpark built with more than $400 million in public dollars and about $150 million from the team. The deal requires the Marlins to pay the two governments 5 percent of the proceeds of a sale.
Five years and six months later, the bill may be coming due. But with Loria able to deduct both debt and taxes paid on the sale, it’s not known whether he plans on notifying local governments that they’re entitled to any dollars from the transaction.
It would not shock me at all if Loria structured the deal in some way so as to put the actual effective date of the transfer outside of that six year window somehow. Or if the books reflect little or no money leftover for the county after the debt and taxes are accounted for. Of course, given that Loria purchased the team for $160 million and sold it for a reported $1.2 billion, that would have to be some pretty hefty number rearranging in order to make it look like there wasn’t a massive profit here. Not that Loria doesn’t have a lot of practice at that sort of thing.
Whatever the case, it’ll be pretty surprising if the matter doesn’t end up in court.