SBD/February 16, 2017/Franchises

Kushner Group Will Not Pursue Marlins After Reports Loria Could Be French Ambassador

Loria last fall gave $125,000 jointly to the Trump campaign and RNC
Joseph Meyer, the brother-in-law of N.Y.-based venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, said his group "will not pursue" purchasing the Marlins after a recent N.Y. Post report stated team Owner Jeffrey Loria will "soon be nominated" by President Trump to be the U.S. Ambassador to France, according to Maggie Haberman of the N.Y. TIMES. Meyer in a statement said that his group had made "substantial progress in discussions for us to purchase the Marlins." However, he added that if reports of Loria's potential appointment are true, "we do not want this unrelated transaction to complicate that process." He added, "The Kushners remain interested in purchasing a team and would love to buy the Marlins at another time" (TWITTER.com, 2/15). Meyer's statement marks the "first time anyone from the Kushners or the Marlins has publicly acknowledged the negotiations" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/16). In Miami, Barry Jackson reports there is a former MLB owner who is "interested in buying the Marlins if Kushner's deal falls through" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/16). Joshua Kushner is the brother of Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner (THE DAILY).

THE FRENCH CONNECTION: In N.Y., Daniel Halper originally reported White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus has "pushed -- and won signoffs" -- for several ambassador appointments, including Loria. Sources said that Preibus has "tried to circumvent" Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in handing out the posts (N.Y. POST, 2/16). The AP's Steve Wine notes Loria is a "longtime major contributor to the Republican National Committee, which Priebus led until taking the job with Trump." Loria gave $125,000 last fall "jointly to the Trump campaign and RNC." It has "long been a presidential tradition to reward generous political donors with plum ambassadorships" (AP, 2/16).

AU REVOIR!
In Ft. Lauderdale, Dave Hyde sarcastically wonders what the French did to "deserve" Loria being "considered as ambassador." He writes one way to look at the possible appointment is that Loria would be "off the Marlins and out of the country," so he could not do the club "any more wrong." Hyde: "The only sure thing about Loria’s potential move is it should unite a fractured America. South Floridians -- Republicans and Democrats -- joyfully anticipate saying 'Bon voyage' to Loria" (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 2/16).
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