Amid a lawsuit between members of the Angelos family, Orioles president and CEO John Angelos released a statement Monday saying the club “will never leave” Baltimore.
Louis Angelos, John’s brother, filed a lawsuit against his brother on Thursday, alleging he was trying to take control of the team and the rest of his father’s holdings. Their 92-year-old father, Peter, has owned the Orioles for nearly three decades. The lawsuit also named their mother, Georgia Angelos, as a defendant.
The lawsuit included Louis Angelos’ claim that John Angelos would consider moving the team to Tennessee if he took full control. John Angelos has a home there with his wife, a country music singer-songwriter who owns a Nashville-based entertainment company.
But in Monday’s statement, John Angelos reiterated his position that the Orioles will stay in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry guards the Inner Harbor.”
“Since being named President and CEO per my parents’ expressed wishes and elected as Team Control Person by all 30 Major League clubs, I have taken significant steps to ensure that the future of our beloved franchise remains in Charm City,” Angelos wrote in the statement which was released the morning after thousands of Paul McCartney fans attended only the second full-fledged concert. in the history of Camden Yards.
Louis Angelos’ attorney, Jeffrey E. Nusinov, hit back Monday, rejecting John Angelos’ claim that he was acting on the “expressed wishes” of his parents.
“I am shocked by John’s statement. Peter Angelos never endorsed John as a controlling person, chairman, CEO or any other title that John misappropriated,” Nusinov said.
In John Angelos’ statement, he said the Orioles will stay in Baltimore “for generations to comeand noted that two months ago, state lawmakers passed a bill allocating $1.2 billion for improvements to the Camden Yards sports complex. This investment is only accessible if the Orioles and Ravens sign long-term leases.
“Maryland is committed to keeping our team in this great state, and I am equally committed to keeping the Orioles at the heart of our state,” the statement read.
Alan Rifkin, a former attorney for the Orioles, said he viewed John Angelos’ statement as “sincere and honest.”
“[John Angelos] has stated privately and publicly for many years that the Orioles are a Baltimore civic institution and are not going anywhere. He has been clear and consistent about it,” Rifkin wrote in an email. “And, Camden Yards is such an iconic venue that it’s irreplaceable for MLB. I really don’t think there’s anything in those rumors. I think people should have faith in what John has. said.
The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards includes a clause that prevents the organization from relocating, and the stadium was built to replace Memorial Stadium in an effort to prevent another professional franchise from leaving. For some Baltimore fans, a 38-year-old hangover continues after Baltimore Colts owner Robert Irsay moved the NFL team to Indianapolis in 1984, just months after saying he wouldn’t. had no intention of doing so.
But the lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority for the state-owned ballpark expires at the end of next year, and despite lengthy negotiations, there has yet to be an extension. Although ultimately unlikely, move-out rumors will likely persist until the lease is extended or a new one is signed.
If a new lease were to include a no-move agreement, it would keep the team in Baltimore for the duration of the agreement, regardless of who owns the team.
In the lawsuit, Louis Angelos accuses John Angelos “of intending to maintain absolute control over the Orioles to manage them, sell them or, if he wishes, move to Tennessee without having to answer to anyone.”
An organization headed by former MLB pitcher Dave Stewart is looking to bring an MLB team to Nashville, but those efforts are aimed at bringing in an expansion team, not an existing franchise.
Although professional teams sometimes use the threat of offshoring as a bargaining chip in financial conversations with public entities, an offshoring MLB team is incredibly rare. There has only been one move in MLB in the last 50 years – when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals in 2005.
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A potential change of ownership and move requires the approval of three-quarters of MLB team owners.
In 2020, The Baltimore Sun reported that major league club owners voted privately to approve John Angelos as the “control person” for the Orioles, signaling Peter Angelos’ managerial change to a son.
The lawsuit argues that John Angelos had already begun to take control of the club after his father collapsed in October 2017 due to aortic valve failure. Although Peter Angelos said his sons would make decisions in tandem, the Louis Angelos lawsuit argues that John Angelos began “reversing his father’s policies, operating in secret and plotting his takeover of his father’s estate. “, as well as to keep Louis Angelos out of the decisions. .
One of those decisions was to prevent the sale of the Orioles. After Peter Angelos was deemed “no longer capable of managing his affairs”, according to the lawsuit, his 80-year-old wife decided selling the Orioles was in the trust’s best interests. But the lawsuit says John Angelos blocked those attempts – including interest from “a group of highly credible buyers” – to retain control of the club itself.
Mayor Brandon Scott said Friday that in repeated conversations with John Angelos, the Orioles CEO said he plans to keep the team in Baltimore. John Angelos reiterated this Monday in his statement: “There is nothing uncertain about the future of the Baltimore Orioles.”
“I want to assure our Orioles players and coaches, our dedicated front office management team and staff, our dedicated fans, our trusted partners, our elected, civic and nonprofit leaders, and to our entire community, that the Orioles will never leave,” he said. “From 33rd Street to Camden Yards, the Birds of Baltimore, the iconic team of Brooks, Earl, Jim, Frank, Cal and Eddie, will forever remain in the one town our family and group of partners have called, or never will. call home.”
Baltimore Sun reporter Jean Marbella contributed to this article.