He has owned both the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins
Jeffrey H. Loria (born November 20, 1940) is an art dealer and is owner of the Florida Marlins. Raised in Manhattan, Loria took an early interest in baseball, attending his first New York Yankees game in the late 1940s. Loria attended New York City's Stuyvesant High School, and Yale University, where he initially took pre-med courses. With a requirement to take a history class, Loria chose art history.
After college, he worked in a newly-established art-buying program for Sears, launched with the help of actor Vincent Price. In 1965, at the age of 24, he opened his private art dealing business, Jeffrey H. Loria & Co., on Manhattan's Upper East Side and wrote a book, Collecting Original Art. He specializes in 20th century masters. His collection includes works by Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore. Loria graduated from Columbia Business School in 1968 and published his second book, What's It All About Charlie Brown?, a look at life through the Peanuts comic strip (co-written with Pat K. Lynch).
In 1989, Loria purchased the Oklahoma City 89ers, then a Triple-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. The team won the American Association championship in 1992. Loria sold the team in 1993 and began looking to buy a Major League team. Loria lost out to Peter Angelos in his bid to purchase the Baltimore Orioles in 1994. On December 9, 1999, he bought a 24 percent stake in the Montreal Expos for $18 million CAD (approximately $12 million USD) and became the managing general partner. When a series of cash calls went unanswered, Loria ended up with 94 percent of the team. He headed an ownership group that included the city of Montreal and Stephen Bronfman, son of founding owner Charles Bronfman.
One of Loria's first acts was to reiterate demands for a new park for the Expos to replace Olympic Stadium, of which he bluntly said, "We cannot stay here." He lost a considerable amount of goodwill with Expos fans when the team was not able to reach an agreement for television and English-speaking radio coverage during the 2000 season, as the Expos tried to increase their revenue from broadcast rights. He also sought more public funding for a planned downtown ballpark, Labatt Park. However, the provincial and municipal governments balked at committing more money to the project. Premier Lucien Bouchard said that he couldn't support using taxpayer dollars to build ballparks when the province was being forced to shut down hospitals. Additionally, Bouchard didn't like that Olympic Stadium still hadn't been paid for 25 years after being built (and wouldn't be paid for, as it turned out, until 2006).
In 2002, as part of an orchestrated move with Bud Selig and then-Marlins owner John W. Henry, Loria sold the Expos to "Expos Baseball, LP," a partnership of the other 29 major league clubs, for $120 million. In effect, the Expos were sold to the commissioner's office. Henry then sold the Marlins to Loria for $158.5 million, including a $38.5 million no-interest loan from MLB. The deal was approved by the other owners before Loria and Henry even signed a contract, and paved the way for Henry to buy the Boston Red Sox. Loria moved the Expos' entire front office and on-field staff to Florida. MLB's plans to contract the Expos and Minnesota Twins failed, though, as the Twins were compelled through legal action to fulfill the terms of their lease at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Loria's partners in the Expos ownership consortium filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) lawsuit against Loria and Major League Baseball, but it eventually went to arbitration, with the arbitration panel finding in favor of Loria. The Expos were ultimately transferred to Washington, D.C. as the Nationals.
In 2003, the Marlins won their second World Series. Loria designed the 3½ ounce championship rings that contain 228 white diamonds, 13 rubies and one teal diamond.
Today the current value for the Florida Marlins would be worth around $277 million. As of May 12, 2009, the Marlins are 569-564 under Loria.
The franchise, which pays rent at Sun Life Stadium, had been trying for years to finance a new retractable roof ballpark. The City of Miami and Miami-Dade County both recently voted to approve construction of a new baseball stadium for the Marlins. It will be located in the area formerly occupied by the Miami Orange Bowl football stadium. Construction is anticipated to be completed by opening day 2012. Without a stadium deal in place, Loria shed star players to pare down payroll to among baseball's lowest in 2005, and was given permission to explore options for relocating. The team is currently working with the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County, in a public/private partnership, to build the 37,000 seat ballpark.
In August, 2010, Loria and the other executives who run the Florida Marlins baseball team misled the public about their finances and insisted the team could not contribute much to the building of the new stadium. A look at the leak of the Marlins’ financial information to Deadspin confirmed the long-held belief that the team takes a healthy chunk of MLB-distributed money for profit. Owner Jeffrey Loria and president David Samson for years have contended the Marlins break even financially, the centerpiece fiscal argument that resulted in local governments gifting them a new stadium that will cost generations of taxpayers an estimated $2.4 billion. They said they had no money to do it alone and intimated they would have to move the team without public assistance.
Loria, who still runs his art dealership, is a member of the board of directors of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University in New York. He formerly served on the board of the Art Dealers Association of America. Loria, who splits time between homes in New York and South Florida, supports hospitals, educational institutions and museums around the world with charitable contributions.
1. ^ Jeffrey Loria - South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
2. ^ Smith, Chris (2003-10-27). "No, I'm the Boss". New York Magazine. http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/sports/features/n_9395/. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
3. ^ Smith, Curt (2001). Storied Stadiums. New York City: Carroll & Company. ISBN 0786711876.
4. ^ From 2002 ESPN Information Please Sports Almanac, Business and Media section
5. ^ Pahigaian, Josh; Kevin O'Connell (2004). The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip. Guilford, Connecticut: Lyons Press. ISBN 1592281591.
6. ^ CNN. May 8, 2009. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/05/08/mlb.owners/inde.... Retrieved May 6, 2010.
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