June 13: John Angelos released a statement this morning that completely rejects the idea of ever relocating the Orioles and dismisses many of the allegations made by his brother (Twitter link):
“…My mother was born and raised in Northeast Baltimore, attended the city’s public schools at Eastern High School, and has worked with my father throughout her life to help the city, including restoring the locally owned club and preventing its transfer. For them, as for me, the Orioles will play at Oriole Park forever, and at no point did we consider anything else.
Since being named Chairman and CEO at the express wish of my parents and being elected Team Controller by the 30 Major League Clubs, I have taken significant steps to ensure the future of our beloved franchise remains in Charm City. Just two months ago, we celebrated the Maryland General Assembly, which passed legislation pledging to spend $1.2 billion to reinvest and redesign the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes Oriole Park, to ensure that the team will continue to play here in downtown Baltimore for generations to come. Maryland is committed to keeping our team in this great state, and I am equally committed to keeping the Orioles at the heart of our state. …
I want to reassure our Orioles players and coaches, our dedicated Front Office Senior Leadership Team and employees, as well as our loyal fans, trusted partners, elected, civic and nonprofit leaders, and our entire community that the Orioles will never go. ”
12th of June: According to a report by Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Banner, the hands on the Baltimore Orioles’ levers are fighting each other. The play details a lawsuit in which Louis Angelos is suing his brother, John Angelos. Both men are the sons of 92-year-old Peter Angelos, who was the lead investor in a group that bought the franchise in 1993. Louis’ lawsuit alleges that Peter was intended for his two sons and Georgia, Peter’s wife and mother John and Louis to share control of the team, but that John has since taken steps to gain control of the club against his father’s wishes.
According to the lawsuit, Peter collapsed in 2017 due to a failure of his aortic valve. It appears plans for succession were developed in the years that followed, with Peter forming a trust with his wife and two sons as co-trustees to manage the family fortunes. Lou Angelos claims that John has since tried to take the reins against his brother’s wishes. “John intends to retain absolute control of the Orioles — manage them, sell them, or if he chooses, relocate to Tennessee (where he has a home and where his wife’s career is headquartered) — without answering to anyone to have to.” it says in the complaint.
Lou Angelos’ claims include that Georgia’s priority is to sell the team, with a consultant trying to piece together a 2020 sale. According to the lawsuit, John stepped in and failed in the deal. Lou also accuses John of firing key front office employees, including Brady Anderson, or demanding that others be fired. After his playing days, Anderson worked in the Baltimore front office, eventually working his way up to vice president of baseball operations. However, he left the organization in 2019.
By November 2020, Major League Baseball’s other owners had approved John Angelos to take over as the O’s “controller” in light of Peter’s deteriorating health. As mentioned at the end of the article, according to Forbes, this franchise is worth an estimated $1.375 billion. Prudente and Fenton also point out that the Maryland state legislature earlier this year passed an initiative that earmarks $1.2 billion for upgrades to the Ravens’ Oriole Park as well as M&T Bank Stadium, in hopes of expanding both franchises prevented from leaving the state. The club’s lease at Camden Yards runs until 2023 and the team have an option to extend the lease for a further five seasons next February.
Of course, none of Lou Angelos’ claims have been substantiated in court. It is possible that the litigation will be settled or dropped before it ever comes before a jury. Still, it’s worth noting that one of baseball’s 30 franchises seems to be in turmoil at the highest level, with plenty of numbers to follow in the months to come.
The Orioles have not commented on the matter. The play contains many details not covered here, and interested readers are encouraged to read it carefully to get the full story.