New York Mets sale: Is A-Rod behind Bill de Blasio's attempt to stop Steve Cohen? The truth behind allegations

Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for de Blasio, rubbished claims that de Blasio is trying to stop Cohen


                            New York Mets sale: Is A-Rod behind Bill de Blasio's attempt to stop Steve Cohen? The truth behind allegations
Alex Rodriguez, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Steve Cohen (Getty Images)

Mets fans are furious. Mayor of New York City Bill de Blasio seems to be eyeing the sale of New York Mets and if a report from New York Post is to be believed, he privately told Major League Baseball that he will do everything he can to stop Steve Cohen from buying the team. As per the report, he 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.

On the call, Post reports, he allegedly said that would use his oversight power of the city’s control of the Citi Field lease to prevent the sale from being finalized. The report also stated a source inside City Hall confirmed that the call took place but clarified the mayor’s message was “very close to what the mayor has been saying publicly.” City Hall has also disclosed that de Blasio and his team are merely doing “due diligence” on Cohen’s purchase of the Mets. 

Bill Neidhardt — a spokesman for de Blasio — rubbished claims that de Blasio is trying to stop Cohen. "The Mayor did call Commissioner Manfred, but the rest of this isn't true," Neidhardt wrote on Twitter. "The NYC Law Dept is doing their due diligence of examining a new lease on incredibly valuable city-owned land. That's what the call was about."



 

As per the New York Post report, de Blasio wants to take the provision that would allow his office to block a “prohibited person” from owning a team that occupies Citi Field, which is partly owned by the city.

The “prohibited person” in the Mets’ lease defines such an individual as “any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude or that is an organized crime figure.” The mayor, as per the report, wants to extend that to anyone “who controls any person or entity that has been convicted of a felony.” It quite clear that — if true — it would target how Cohen’s hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors infamously pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in 2013 and paid a $1.8 billion fine.

Point72 Asset Management and Gala Chair Steven A. Cohen (Getty Images)

Now, if you are wondering why he may want to do so, another New York Post article alleges Alex Rodriguez — who was earlier eyeing Mets — may be connected to it. The report joined the dots to Cohen's opponent State Senator Jessica Ramos. New York Post reports that sources said Ramos has been in contact with City Hall about the Mets sale. Not just that, it also shed light to an op-ed from July where Ramos endorsed the sale of the Mets to the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

The second key figure in the ploy is Jerry Reinsdorf, the owner of the White Sox. Another opponent of Cohen, he also favors Rodriguez for the ownership of Mets. The report read: "Reinsdorf has been furiously attempting to compile a bloc of “no” votes in advance of Friday (to little effect, reportedly, at least so far)." On January 12, 2020, Rodriguez tweeted a picture of the two and wrote: “Honored to catch up with my mentor & own personal rabbi last night, the incredible Jerry Reinsdorf. Jerry, It’s been so much fun talking real estate & baseball w/you. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me the last 20 years!”



 

Amid all the ruckus, people are not pleased on the Internet. "If @NYCMayor actually blocks sale of Mets to Steve Cohen after all the hurdles jumped the last year, we will riot," one Twitter user posted and another said, "Dear @NYCMayor @BilldeBlasio do not, I repeat, DO NOT block or kill the sale of the @Mets to Steve Cohen!!! You will feel the wrath of EVERY SINGLE METS FAN WORLDWIDE if you do!!!!" A third warned him, "@billdeblasio Hey Bill, stay the hell away."

One said, "Forget about Trump and the election. If Di Blasio actually blocks the sale of the Mets to Steve Cohen, I’ll move out of the country by Sunday." Another posted, "@realDonaldTrump if you can read this please stop @NYCMayor and his attempt to radicalize @Mets fans by blocking the sale of the organization to our lord and savior Steve Cohen." One opined: "I fail to see the possible benefit to the mayor? Permanently alienating at least 25% of the electorate seems unwise. In the end, he won't be able to stop it. So why let this be a story for days? Seems counterproductive to all involved."



 



 



 



 



 



 

While Steve Cohen has a net worth of $14.6 billion, Rodriguez is worth $350 million. MLB owners are scheduled to vote on Cohen’s purchase this Friday. He is expected to be approved.

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