Steve Cohen’s Mets purchase will have to go through Bill de Blasio
Hal Steinbrenner isn’t the only prominent New York figure who will have a say in the sale of the Mets to Steve Cohen. None other than Bill de Blasio also gets a turn at bat, thanks to the terms of the Citi Field lease.
However, much like Steinbrenner, the Yankees’ managing general partner, New York City’s mayor is expected to support Cohen’s effort to purchase his childhood favorite ballclub from the Wilpons for $2.4 billion. A 30-day window for de Blasio to sign off on the sale began last Friday, although the city’s byzantine regulations allow the clock to be restarted.
“This is just due diligence,” a City Hall source said. “It’s hard to see this impacting the final deal.”
“This,” as first pointed out by USA Today, is language in the Citi Field lease agreement between the Mets and New York City that protects the Mets from being taken over by a “prohibited person.” Such a person, as per Section 17.01(d)(ii) in the agreement (which was obtained by The Post), is “[a]ny Person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude or that is an organized crime figure,” among other similar transgressions or connections.
This is standard operating procedure; the Yankees’ lease for Yankee Stadium features identical language.
It’s well-known that Cohen, 64, founded S.A.C. Capital Advisors, and that the fund pled guilty in 2013 to insider trading and paid $1.8 billion in fines. However, that does not make Cohen a felon as he reached a civil deal with SEC that merely barred him from managing outside money for two years. For de Blasio to block Cohen based on “moral turpitude,” especially when Major League Baseball officials strongly support the transaction and Mets fans are frothing with excitement over the switch, appears to be a major stretch. Multiple baseball sources expressed confidence that this would prove nothing more than a formality.
“The Mayor has an obligation to the people of New York City to closely examine new leases on culturally important and incredibly valuable city-owned land,” said de Blasio’s press secretary, Bill Neidhardt.
MLB’s eight-person Ownership Committee recently endorsed Cohen’s bid, which now moves to the eight-person Executive Council, where it’s expected to pass, and finally a full vote among all 30 owners. With the Wilpons a definite yes, the Mets will need 22 of the 29 remaining owners to vote in favor of the sale. That seminal vote could take place within a week of the completion of the World Series, which held its Game 2 Wednesday in Arlington, Texas.
Share this article:
Source: Read Full Article