If those that don’t want Steve Cohen owning the New York Mets go down, it certainly appears that they will go down fighting.
Wednesday night provided a blitz of reports — started by the New York Post — that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio “is trying to kill” the deal that will see the 64-year-old hedge-fund billionaire take over 95% of the club.
Per the Post, de Blasio called up MLB commissioner Rob Manfred and ” told him outright that he opposed the idea of [Cohen] 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.”
SNY’s Andy Martino later confirmed the Post’s report, further increasing the chance that de Blasio could delay Cohen’s official takeover of the team even after he receives the necessary approval votes by other MLB club owners on Friday.
The mayor’s camp, however, has denied those reports as his press secretary, Bill Neidhardt, confirmed de Blasio called the commissioner, but “the rest of this isn’t true.”
“The NYC Law Dept is doing their due diligence of examining a new lease on incredibly valuable city-owned land,” Neidhardt added. “That’s what the call was about.”
This all derives from the 2006 Stadium Lease Agreement between the New York City Industrial Development Agency and Queens Ballpark Company stating that the city can deny the transferral of the Mets and Citi Field to a person who has committed a felony.
Cohen has never been charged with a crime, but the Post and Martino are suggesting that his role in his former company, S.A.C. Capital paying $1.8 billion in fines after pleading guilty to wire and securities fraud is enough for de Blasio to try and invoke the clause.
Grandstanding and threats aside, it is still believed that Cohen will come away with the team. That includes those near the Cohen camp.
When shown the reports by the Post and Martino, a source told amNewYork Metro: “Not worried.”
“[Cohen] will win in court,” they said, if it ever got that far. “Besides, de Blasio needs bad PR like he needs a hole in the head.”
With Cohen set to get the green light from MLB owners on Friday, de Blasio’s potential step-in only delays what many believe is inevitable. So now, we just sit back and play the waiting game.
A source did add to amNewYork Metro that Cohen is ready to take de Blasio to court if it gets to that point.