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SBJ/March 21-27, 2011/Forty Under 40
Forty Under 40
Published March 21, 2011, Page 40A
SHERRY BAKHTIAR/SB IMAGING GROUP LLC
After playing a key role in the relocation of the Montreal Expos in 2004 to Washington, D.C., and the construction of Nationals Park, the Foley & Lardner attorney then worked on the forthcoming Florida Marlins ballpark on behalf of Major League Baseball, represented Chuck Greenberg, Nolan Ryan and their partners last year in their purchase of the Texas Rangers, and now is part of MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s task force studying new stadium options for the Oakland A’s.
Each of these sagas were anything but conventional and at many times came perilously close to falling apart entirely. But baseball is now solidly in place in the nation’s capital, the Marlins’ ballpark will open next year, and the Rangers are rapidly ascending under Ryan and his team following a bankruptcy filing and high-stakes auction for the team.
And while public details are scarce regarding the A’s study, Raij hopes for a successful outcome there, too, in the coming months.
“There’s never any one way to do these deals. Every one is very, very different,” Raij said. “The landscape to do a stadium deal nowadays is incredibly challenging. But I still do have hope, always, and I’m still bullish on these deals. The key is finding what’s really important to each side.”
Raij has been widely praised by MLB and many individual teams for a cool, methodical approach to these highly complex situations. But the Miami native admits to some emotion, particularly with regard to the new Marlins stadium, being built on the site of the former Orange Bowl in Miami’s Little Havana.
“I spent a lot of time at the Orange Bowl as a kid, and have a ton of memories there. I loved it there,” said Raij, also student body president while at the University of Miami, which also called the Orange Bowl home. “So it was very, very strange to be part of the process of essentially tearing it down.”
|Age: 40 (turned 40 on March 7)
Title: Partner and vice chair, sports industry team
COMPANY: Foley & Lardner LLP
Education: B.B.A., University of Miami, 1992; J.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 1995
Career: Started in Department of Housing and Urban Development legal honors program in 1995; associate counsel, White House Office of Counsel to the President; special assistant, office of the general counsel at HUD; assistant counsel in Office of the Vice President; in-house counsel to Gore 2000 and Gore/Lieberman; joined Foley & Lardner in October 2001
|Last vacation: Israel
What's on your iPod: Eclectic mix including Springsteen, U2, Beatles, Black Eyed Peas,
Nirvana, Dave Matthews and random pop
Guilty pleasure: Late-night TV — pretty much anything
Best stress release: Working out
Pet peeve: Dishonesty and disloyalty
Greatest disappointment: Don’t have one.
One door closes, another opens.
Fantasy job: Senior executive for a team or
Business advice: Remain open-minded and try
to work on things you enjoy and believe in.