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Blogger at NBC Sport.com's HardballTalk. Recovering litigator. Rake. Scoundrel. Notorious Man-About-Town.
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Jeff Loria loses round one in legal battle with Miami over proceeds from Marlins sale

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Last week, the Miami-Dade County government filed a lawsuit against former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria seeking to recoup proceeds from the sale of the team last October. The lawsuit arose out of an agreement between Loria and Miami-Dade in which, 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.

Loria, quite questionably, claimed that he made no money on the sale of the club and that, therefore, he didn’t have to may the government anything. Loria bought the team for $158 million and sold it for $1.2 billion, so if you’re going to believe him, you have to believe that there were A LOT of service and convenience charges on that sale. I suppose crazier things have happened — some accountants claims “Star Wars” still hasn’t turned a profit depending on who is owed a cut of the profits — but it’s a pretty sketchy claim.

The first preliminary ruling in the case came down today, and the court sided with Miami-Dade, ruling that Loria breached the agreement insofar as he did not hand over a sufficiently documented justification to Miami-Dade to support his claim of zero profits from the sale. Rather, he just turned over a relatively detail-free five-page summary. That matters, obviously, because Miami-Dade can’t easily rebut Loria’s claim of no profits if he’s not explaining how the deal broke down for him in sufficient detail.

That ruling does not end the case, but it does provide Miami-Dade with more time to build its claim against Loria, which would’ve had a rapidly approaching deadline if Loria had complied with his responsibilities to document his profits, or lack thereof.

Put more simply: Loria was trying to pull a fast one, and the court was not having it. Shocker.