Miami-Dade County

Jeffrey Loria not sharing profits with county or city from $1.2 billion Marlins sale

Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, center, walks by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, right, and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, during the unveiling ceremony of the official logo of the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park. The ceremony took place before the Marlins-Phillies game on Wednesday, July 27, 2016.
Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, center, walks by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, right, and Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, during the unveiling ceremony of the official logo of the 2017 All-Star Game at Marlins Park. The ceremony took place before the Marlins-Phillies game on Wednesday, July 27, 2016. pportal@elnuevoherald.com

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 documents released Friday.

The 2008 county agreement that had Miami-Dade fund the bulk of the $515 million government-owned stadium in Little Havana gave Miami-Dade and Miami the right to 5 percent of any profits Loria and partners might reap if they sold the team within 10 years. But Loria could deduct team debt, certain expenses and taxes tied to a sale, and county officials and team executives privately predicted Loria wouldn’t agree to give up any of his revenue from the October sale to Derek Jeter and partners. Loria bought the Marlins in 2002 for $158 million, and it’s described by the league and current ownership as a money-losing franchise.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who voted against the 2008 financing deal as a county commissioner, said Friday the county may sue to collect revenue he thinks taxpayers are owed from the sale. Miami is eligible for a smaller portion of profits under the original deal, since the city paid for the garages around the stadium. Gimenez told reporters he rejected Loria’s suggestion there are no profits to share with taxpayers after the sale and that he probably walked away “with hundreds of millions of dollars in his pocket.”

“My message is that this community really allowed you to make a lot of money,” Gimenez said. “He should do the right thing. He made profits, and he made big profits. He should share that with the people who allowed him to do that.”

“What he’s telling this community,” Gimenez added, “is that he got away with it all.”

In a brief report sent by Loria’s lawyers, his organization said the terms of the deal resulted in a profit-sharing calculation of zero. The reason? About $280 million in debt that lowered the profits from the $1.2 billion sale, plus an agreed-to underlying value of the franchise of about $625 million, based on it getting more valuable each year. Add in nearly $300 million in taxes tied to the sale by Loria and partners, and Loria’s accountants claim the sale amounted to a loss of $141 million. Loria also deducted the $30 million fee paid to the financial advisors hired to negotiate the deal.

Miami Marlins co-owner Derek Jeter speaks to the media after town hall meeting at Marlins Park on Tuesday, December 19, 2017

David Samson, the team president under Loria, declined to comment. The first comment from the county came from Miami-Dade’s communications director, Michael Hernández, who at 10:22 a.m. posted on Twitter a curt tweet. It stated: “$0.”

Norman Braman, the Miami auto magnate who led the opposition to the Marlins ballpark but opposed Gimenez’s 2016 reelection effort, said the county should have intervened during negotiations with Jeter and majority owner Bruce Sherman when a claim could have held up a sale. “It’s outrageous,” Braman said. “Sherman never would have closed on his deal if the county had asserted itself before.”

Gimenez said looking back, he doubted the county could have intervened before a sale but that nobody raised that suggestion with him at the time.

A group led by Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter submitted its plan to league owners to buy the club for $1.2 billion.

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