Loria sues to seize $725,000 building for fan’s nonrenewal of Marlins tickets

I may have just written an article for Vice Sports on how Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria’s windfall from selling the team isn’t really the result of the stadium subsidies he got — those stadium subsidies look to have just gone down a hole, huzzah! — but that doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate and agree with this lede from Miami New Times’s Tim Elfrink:

Tens of thousands of baseball fans, officials, and journalists have arrived in Miami today for one reason: to see the worst owner in professional sports for themselves.

(Though when I mentioned this, I did have one person ask me: “What, James Dolan is visiting Florida?”)

As good as that opening line is, the main point of the article is even better: Loria, not content with suing his fans for canceling their season tickets to his terrible team, is now trying to seize a commercial building owned by one fan as compensation:

Loria’s team is suing a fan named Kenneth Sack in Broward County to take a $725,000 building he owns in Oakland Park — all as part of the same ugly dispute that has led the team to sue at least nine season ticketholders and luxury-suite owners since 2003

In January, the team won a judgment against Sack for the full $97,200, but his attorney appealed because the lawyer had missed key hearings and filings after suffering a heart attack and spending months in the hospital. That civil case remains open.

But in the meantime, the team has used that judgment to try to nab a building owned by Sack. On March 12, the Marlins initiated a foreclosure proceeding for a commercial building Sack owns in Oakland Park, arguing that they can seize the property to fulfill the $97,200 he owes them; they ask the judge to appoint a receiver so they can begin collecting rent from the location. (Oddly, county property appraisers say the building at 5090 N. Dixie Hwy. is actually worth $725,000.)

Concludes Elfrink: “The Marlins have so deeply ruined the relationship with their fans that it’s a fair question whether professional baseball can ever recover in Miami. For now, be warned: Don’t sign any contracts with the Fish unless you’re ready for them to come after your property if things go sour.” Have fun with your new $1.2 billion toy, next billionaire in line to own the Marlins!

4 comments on “Loria sues to seize $725,000 building for fan’s nonrenewal of Marlins tickets

  1. One might think that whom ever buys the Marlins would dedicate a significant chuck of change for a public relations/community outreach/ advertising campaign.

    • Would it be worth it? Florida has long been a great state for producing baseball PLAYERS, but it’s never been anything to write home about when it comes to producing baseball FANS. Loria certainly hasn’t made things better in Miami, but the Marlins (and Rays) are franchises that have always had a hard time bringing people into the ballpark even when they’ve been winning.

  2. While no-one is surprised to find Loria suing his own fans and partners, the question that needs to be asked is who would willingly partner with Loria in the first place?

    It’s not like the fans/partners shouldn’t have seen this coming.

    Signing a contract on the basis that the team verbally promised 28,000 fans per game is just as foolhardy as a bank lending me $2m to buy a Bugatti on the basis that, even though I’ve never earned more than $100k a year, I expect to earn $750k in each year of the next decade.

    I’m loathe to defend Loria (for anything, literally), and there’s no question that this is a PR nightmare (something Loria’s entire organization seems oblivious to). However, it does appear that it is the customers who are in breach of contract here. None of the promises they claim lead to the breach appear to be actual contractual obligations.

    Someone promising that you’ll probably make billions and get a free pony is not the same as someone putting that in writing. You are supposed to read the contracts before you sign them, people.

    • Yeah, as much as a scumbag as Loria is, you would think that people who run businesses would understand that verbal promises aren’t worth the paper they’re written on and if it’s not in the contract, IT”S NOT IN THE CONTRACT.