MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Jeffrey Loria may not be the owner of the Miami Marlins anymore but he’s still giving locals reasons to be upset.
Loria won’t be sharing any of the profits from the $1.2 billion sale of the Marlins with Miami-Dade County.
Loria’s accounting firm informed the county late Thursday that the former owner owed them nothing.
In an odd move, the paperwork from Loria’s firm was addressed to former county manager George Burgess, who helped push the stadium deal through in 2008.
It’s odd because Burgess hasn’t worked for the county since 2011. He left his position just hours after former Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Alvarez was ousted after a recall election.
Carlos Gimenez, the current Miami-Dade County Mayor, called out Loria for the move.
“It’s clear he never cared about this community,” said Gimenez.
Miami-Dade County funded the majority of the $515 million funds that were needed to build Marlins Park based in-part on an agreement with Loria that the county had the right to a portion of any profits he would make if they sold the team within 10 years.
However, Loria had the ability to deduct team debt, as well as specific taxes connected with the sale.
Marlins executives privately figured that Loria wouldn’t be giving any profit to the county, and they were right.
Loria originally purchased the Marlins in 2002 for $158 million.
Instead of showing a billion dollar profit, Loria’s accountants show he lost $141 million in the deal.
They factor in taxes, debt and for a bizarre reason, capping the value of the team to about $625 million, roughly half of what it sold for. All of this supposedly permitted by the 2008 deal.
Auto tycoon Norman Braman, a critic of the ballpark from the start, is disgusted.
“This thing is debacle. It’s an embarrassment for the community,” Braman said. “The county is guilty of negligence in this matter. And who’s holding the bag, who’s going to pay for it? The taxpayers.”
Braman not only blames the previous mayor that he successfully ousted out of office, but county hall for not doing their job.
“It’s letting a wolf escape,” he said. “There is no reason in the world why they county did not make a demand between the time the sale was announced and the closing.”
CBS4’s David Sutta asked the mayor why they didn’t have a seat at the table before the team was sold.
“I’m not sure we could have been at the table,” Gimenez said. “So the blame lies with how the contract was written. And that was written way back. Way before me.”
Mayor Gimenez has ordered his legal team to look through the deal.
When asked how things could end up, he replied, “don’t know, may end up in court.”
Braman also thinks that’s where this is heading
“The county is going to sue,” he said. “They are going to hire lawyers. It’s going to cost the taxpayers dollars. It’ll drag on for year and years and years. And nothing is going to happen. Maybe Loria will throw a couple of crumbs.”
The irony in all this is that $50 million dollars is sitting in escrow right now.
It’s money that would have been paid to the county or city should there have been a profit.
Instead, that $50 million is now headed back to Loria.