NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio ignites controversy with attempt to nuke Mets sale to Steve Cohen
Steve Cohen thought his attempted purchase of majority ownership in the New York Mets is all wrapped up. However, New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has other ideas.
According to a new report from The New York Post, De Blasio is on a mission to squash a deal in the 9th inning.
Bill de Blasio has privately told Major League Baseball that he will do everything he can to stop Steve Cohen from buying the Mets.
The Post has learned that Hizzoner called MLB commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this month and told him outright that he opposed the idea of a hedge-fund billionaire buying a local team and would be using his oversight power of the city’s control of the Citi Field lease to prevent the sale from being finalized.
Fortunately for Cohen though, the unpopular mayor’s ideas are rarely carried out as successfully as he envisions.
According to the report, the mayor called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this month and voiced his displeasure with the sale of the Mets franchise and Citi Field to Cohen, a hedge-fund billionaire.
The mayor is said to be trying to invoke a clause in the stadium lease that disallows city-controlled property to be owned by a “prohibited person,” which “includes not just an individual who was convicted of a felony, but anyone who controls any person or entity that has been convicted of a felony.'” He claims the lease gives the mayor legal domain over the property in this type of scenario.
Cohen’s hedge fund pleaded guilty to insider training in 2013.
The sale of the Mets from the Wilpon family to Cohen is expected to be approved on Friday at a price of $2.4 billion.
New York City Hall told the Post that De Blasio was merely doing his “due diligence” before a finalized sale, rather than trying to thwart it. However, the Post’s sources refuted that.
“’The ‘due diligence’ line is bulls–t,’ a source familiar with City Hall told The Post. ‘He’s told [Major League] Baseball he doesn’t want Cohen and he’s told his Law Department to find a way to stop it.'”
A source close to the Mets said that two law firms already looked into the matter before the deal closes, and both concluded that the city would have no standing to oppose the deal.
SNY’s Andy Martino reported that the MLB will go ahead with the vote on Friday even if De Blasio doesn’t formally approve the deal before the deadline.
If, by some long-shot, the Steve Cohen deal does fall through at the last minute, the group put together by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez could be next in line to buy the Mets.