Jeffrey Loria had an agreement with the Miami-Dade government. In exchange for them paying for most of the cost of the Marlins new stadium, Miami-Dade would get a cut of the profits if and when Loria sold the team. Pretty simple, right? Of course.
Loria bought the team for $158 million. He sold the team for $1.2 billion. That means he cleared over a billion bucks. Fine, take out some for legal fees and various other expenses, but it still means he cleared close to a billion bucks, right? And that Miami-Dade could therefore expect a little check representing their cut, right?
Wrong. Because this is Jeffrey Loria we’re talking about, and he wouldn’t give you a nickel to save your life. From the Miami Herald:
Jeffrey Loria’s lawyers have told Miami-Dade County not to expect any profit-sharing revenue from last year’s $1.2 billion sale of the Miami Marlins, according to two sources familiar with the talks . . . Loria’s accountants claim the sale amounted to a loss of $141 million.
The article explains, at least superficially, how Loria’s attorneys claim that a billion dollars in profit turned into a $141 million loss on the deal. I’m sure it’s the sort of thing the lawyers will argue with a straight face if and when Loria is sued by Miami — as he likely will be — but it’s laughable to suggest that Loria took a loss. It’s a shell game. It’s akin to the way Loria used to claim he was losing money running the team, but forgot to mention that part of those expenses were millions in management fees . . . paid to himself. It’s like when a movie studio makes a billion on a blockbuster but then refuses to pay the star points on his deal through the magic of creative accounting.
For as ridiculous as that all sounds, my sympathy for Miami-Dade only goes so far. Jeffrey Loria has been a cheapskate and a hustler since long before he came to Miami. It was idiocy at the time to give him half a billion for a stadium that allowed him to make a billion more, and the fact that it’s not coming to bite the taxpayers on the behind is about as surprising as the sun coming up over the Atlantic tomorrow.
We’ve been saying it for years, but we’ll say it again: never give the owner of a sports team a dime. For anything. Ever.