Billionaire Welfare-Queen Liars


The great sports website Deadspin has obtained and posted a bunch of infamously well-guarded financial documents from Major League Baseball teams, and unsurprisingly, people combing through them are coming to unhappy conclusions about those tens of billions in taxpayer dollars that poverty-pleading billionaires have loosed from the public's pocket. Here's Yahoo Sports' Jeff Passan:

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.

In fact, documents show, the Marlins could have paid for a significant amount of the new stadium's construction themselves and still turned an annual operating profit. Instead, they cried poor to con feckless politicians that sold out their constituents. […]

Somehow a team that listed its operating income as a healthy $37.8 million in 2008 alone swung a deal in which it would pay only $155 million of the $634 million stadium complex. Meanwhile, Miami-Dade County agreed – without the consent of taxpayers – to take $409 million in loans loaded with balloon payments and long grace periods. By 2049, when the debt is due, the county will have paid billions. […]

The team fought to conceal the $48.9 million in profits over the last two years because the revelation would have prompted county commissioners to insist the team provide more funding. […]

[I]t's clear what happened: The Marlins loaded money into their coffers and held hostage a city afraid of losing a team, then leveraged it into a sweetheart deal like so many teams across baseball during the stadium boom of the last 20 years.

Whole thing, with plenty more damning detail, here.

But remember kids, the biggest scandal in baseball is that a great pitcher might have lied to Henry Waxman about steroids. You can lie your billionaire face off about company profits in order to get that 10th digit on your welfare check, but dissemble about the substances you ingest to recover from workouts? Well, no one is above the law.

I wrote about Loria's evil lies in October 2003, May 2005, and July 2009.