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Miami-Dade County sues Jeffrey Loria over sale of Marlins

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In a move that should surprise no one, least of all Loria himself, the Miami-Dade County government has opened a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria as they seek to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team last October. The full scoop is over on the Miami Herald, where Doug Hanks writes that the suit names both Loria and the current Marlins franchise as defendants.

According to a separate statement released by the team on Friday, however, the beef only appears to be between the county and Loria:

This claim has absolutely nothing to do with this ownership group. This County City equity payment is 100% an obligation of the previous ownership and it was specifically excluded as part of our purchase of the team. We expect the previous ownership and the County to resolve this dispute in an expeditious manner.

Earlier this month, Loria’s lawyers claimed (rather dubiously) that he came away from the $1.2 billion sale of the team with a $141 million loss, effectively cheating the county out of the profits they’re entitled to under an agreement struck by the two parties back in 2009. Now, the county claims the former owner’s attorneys and accountants delivered insufficient records of transactions, loans and payouts that reportedly factored into those profit calculations, calling it “unsupported, self-serving, and fuzzy math” that provided “a sufficient basis to deceive the public.”

While the county has not named a specific dollar amount in the suit, they will seek a jury trial. Hanks adds that city manager Emilio Gonzalez expects the city open a separate suit against Loria later this year as well.

Report: Major League Baseball bans transactions with Mexican League teams

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that Major League Baseball has banned all transactions with Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB), popularly known as the Mexican League. As of now, all 30 teams are prohibited from signing players under contract with LMB teams. The ban was issued due to Major League Baseball’s contention that “corruption” and “fraud” run rampant in the player acquisition process.

Passan describes the issues in detail, and they sound pretty compelling. The upshot: LMB clubs — which have full control over their players — are taking advantage of them, taking most if not all of the signing bonuses MLB teams give them after negotiating for their rights. Mexican teams often sign players when they’re 15 years-old so that, once they are old enough for American teams to approach them, they’re in the position to take a usurious cut.

Passan says Major League Baseball is demanding greater transparency from LMB before it’s willing to lift the ban. He also says that the MLBPA is in “lockstep” with Major League Baseball on the matter, which makes sense given that, if MLB’s claims are accurate, players are being exploited here. He also says that if LMB does not change its ways, there is a “Plan B,” though it’s not clear what that is.

There aren’t a ton of Mexican players signed by MLB teams each year, but there are enough to make this a significant issue that is worth watching.