Corporate Welfare

Billionaire Welfare-Queen Liars


That's Uggla

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. […]

Terrorist fist bump

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.

NEXT: Today, We Are All HomoCons.

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  1. We still have apple pie, right?


    1. No, the big apple, big sugar, big butter, and big flour lobbies took that from us, too. Assholes.

    2. My report on apple pies created or saved will be released on Friday

      1. Note to self: go windowsill shopping on Thursday.

  2. The baseball owners are scum. So are the NFL owners for that matter. They control who can buy a team. And they make damn sure only fellow crooks get to buy.

    1. I think there is a Limbaugh joke in here somewhere.

    2. Wasn’t Joe Robbie Stadium built with 100% private money?

      1. I learned to tolerate hockey in part because our arena was built with private funds. Of course now, 10 years down the road, they’re pleading poverty and want the taxpayers to buy it and give them a sweetheart deal.

      2. PacBell SBC AT&T Park in SF was built with purely private funds.

        1. But, I believe they tried 3 or 4 times to get the taxpayers to foot the bill and it was voted down every time.

    3. McDonald’s controls who can own one of their fine eateries, but I don’t see you complaining about that.

  3. Is anyone else turned on by the first picture?

    No homo.

    1. That’s totally not working in this thread, but Matt did probably got the idea from Nick’s article.

  4. All “pro” sports are corrupt, plain and simple.

    Bitch welfare queens, every last one of ’em.

  5. “Welfare-Queen Liars”

    See, Reason hates the poor.


  6. a city afraid of losing a team

    The only people afraid of losing the Marlins are the corrupt government officials who pad their pockets with the assistance of corrupt contractors who worked to build the corrupt stadium on land sold by corrupt landowners.

    Nobody in Miami gives a shit about the Marlins. NOBODY.

    1. And that’s because everyone in the area is originally from either New York City or Cuba.

    2. That would explain all those empty blue and orange seats at their home games.

      It makes me sick to think that that shitty-ass unsupportive fan base got two championships while the Cubs Nation juggernaut has been waiting 100+ years for one.

      1. No argument. As a native New Yorker and naturalized Floridian who has lived in South Florida, specifically, for more than half of my 40 years, I have often said that we do not deserve our sports teams, that we are fair-weather fans at best.

        My friends all think I’m just being a crochety old contrarian.

  7. Even if the owners were losing money on their playthings (see every other fucking hobby on the planet) that would not justify giving them a red cent for it.

    1. No shit. They wouldn’t be losing money if they hadn’t over expanded and ruined their product. Fuck them. Let them all go broke.

      1. Small market MLB teams are losing money because of free agency with no salary cap, not because of expansion. Some of the poorest franchises out there are founding members of the NL and AL.

        1. Examples: Pirates, Reds, Orioles, Indians, A’s…none of these are expansion teams.

  8. The Marlins loaded money into their coffers and held hostage a city afraid of losing a team…

    I love this oh so consistent spin. The poor gumbmint officials had no choice but to give in to the boondoogle wiles of the big, bad “special interests.”

    It’s so sad. All of those poor helpless politicians are just out-matched by the lobbyists. I believe the only way help our poor victim politicians is the re-elect them. What a fucking joke.

    1. Damn it!

      to help … and …. is to re-elect them

      City officials being taken advantage of really upsets me.

  9. As much as I love the Vikings (and hate Breet Fav-ruh), I was so happy when Minnesotans voted down giving the Vikes a new stadium.

    1. I don’t get the Favre hate. All he is doing is fucking with his bosses. And who wouldn’t do that if they had the chance? I love what he does. Naw I don’t want to do summer camp. You guys call me later if you really need me. And then come down and kiss my ass a bit before I show up.

      Anyone who tells you they wouldn’t love to do that to their boss is lying.

      1. He didn’t say “nah I don’t want to do sumemr camp”. He said “I’m retired”.

        He’s an attention whore who lost the NFC championship game.

        1. It sure sucks if you’re Tarvaris Jackson.

        2. And you guys would have never sniffed the playoffs without him. So I don’t see how you can complain. And so what if he says he is retired? Doesn’t he have a right to change his mind? And he only said he was retired to fuck with his bosses, which is fine by me.

            1. As A Diehard Vikings fan… I agree. Also, I’m glad the stadium was voted down too. It’s a shame though, because somewhere, a city will be found willing to foot the bill… maybe even the Twin Cites in the future.

          1. They were 10-6 the year before they acquired Brett Favre. Their D and receiving corps got better after that year as well. They gained a win or two, at most, from Favre. Peterson is the straw that stirs their drink.

          2. He’s been angsting about retiring for six years now, and it’s rather obvious he has been lying these last two years because he wanted to get to Minnesota and no one wants to openly admit he just wants to avoid training camp. Favre’s indecisive schtick is just getting tiring.

      2. He’s also screwing with the team’s strategy. If he said that he doesn’t want to do OTAs and training camp, few fans would fault him for that. However, his drama queen action limits what the team can do in the offseason at the QB position, especially because he’s still under contract (in year 2 of a 2 year deal).

        Though it boggles the mind that the Vikings didn’t draft Colt McCoy or, much as I hate him, Jimmy Claussen. They need a young QB to groom and Claussen would do well to learn from a QB as obnoxiously arrogant as he is.

        1. Wasn’t Delhomme available? Could have at least gotten a younger guy to throw game-ending interceptions.

          1. They’ve got Sage RosenCopter to take care of the game-losing turnovers.

            1. Holy Shi-ite! Sage is bad. I caught some of him in the last pre season game and he was simply pathetic.

              Our rookie 6th rounder looks far better (Joe Webb).

        2. I’m struck with the thought that Favre wants to leave the team he does retire from completely in the lurch as far the QB position goes. He was not satisfied with retiring from Green bay because with Rodgers ready to go, they were not devastated enough by his retirement to satisfy him.

        3. Locally, I didn’t know anyone who thought for a minute he wasn’t coming back. Like you said, I think everyone knew he was milking this to avoid as much of camp as he can.

          You also can’t blame him for holding out when the team can’t be bothered to make any significant moves at the position in the off season. More power to Favre.

    2. Sorry, when did we vote down a Vikes stadium? I know that the Vikes didn’t get their crazy ass bill pushed through the last session of the legislature (but it got farther than anyone thought at the time), but the people haven’t gotten a chance to vote.

      I predict that once this election is over, there will be another surprise stadium bill modeled on the ones the Twins used to screw over the Hennepin county (aka Minneapolis) taxpayers.

      In that deal, the county government gave the Twins a sweatheart deal. All the taxes would be paid for by Hennepin county only. Surprisingly the rest of the state legislature thought that was a great deal and voted to suspend the requirement that the plan go to a county referendum.

      So now I have the privilege of paying for a boondoggle while my worthless relatives who live outstate get to enjoy the Twins for free.

      The Vikes will find a similar sucker and the same kind of back door deals will be made.

  10. This says more about the officials who gave these whores the money to build the stadium than the whores themselves.

  11. I live outside Portland, Oregon. There is a real booster effort to bring MLB to Portland despite considerable local disinterest. Booster No. 1? Merritt Paulson, Henry Paulson’s son. He threatened to move the Minor league team away if the city wouldn’t help build a new stadium. The community rallied to oppose projected new stadiums (stadia?) and now there are plans to sell the team and move them to California. Fortunately, the people of Portland essentially called his bluff on baseball; unfortunately, they are going to shell out millions to refurbish the existing ballpark to accomodate Major League Soccer, a sport with little appeal. Absolutely ridiculous waste of money.

    1. Why would anyone in Portland want a small market baseball club. Like having one cursed team in the Blazers isn’t enough.

      1. Seriously, the team would have about as much chance as the Pirates and Royals do.

      2. Pro baseball in Portland would be one big rain delay.

        When I was growing up there, the AAA team always had terrible attendance. Far more people there were interested in watching Canadian teenagers play junior league hockey for the Winterhawks. Portland ought to get an NHL team–they’ve already got the facility for it.

  12. I would have assumed the government would have at a minimum looked at the financial books before dolling out the cash. Once again, I’m proving ever-so naive about government competence.

    1. I’m sure they saw a “financial statement” provided to them by MLB or the team. That’s why folks hire accountants: to provide a picture of your finances to someone else that helps further your own interests. Sometimes that means showing your finances as better than they actually are, more often it means showing that they’re worse than they actually are.

  13. Now here’s a perfect example of wasteful government spending. There is no reason to finance billionaires on the taxpayer’s dime.

  14. Thanks to satellite and cable TV, these franchises could be located anywhere and the vast majority of fans could still watch the games. As long as the game is televised, I could care less if the Bears play at Soldier Field or in a corn field.

    So the next time a team threatens to move, we should tell them to go ahead. If the Chicago Bears became the Kanakakee Bears, who would really notice?

  15. Funny, I thought this was a site for Libertarians…

    With all the whining you’d think this was the Huffington Post.

    Bottom line: Does the city profit from the deal? If so, who the hell cares what the Marlins did? If not, they shouldn’t have built the stadium, so again, who the hell cares what the Marlins did?

    Is this complicated or something?

    1. I disagree. Do the citizens get back equal value from the teams for what they pay in taxes? I doubt it. This is big people with power and access taking from little people. This is a libertarian issue.

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