Sources: Former Braves GM Coppolella Turned Down Financial Severance, Lawsuits Possible
The Braves offered former GM John Coppolella a "financial buyout of severance," but he turned it down last week and has "hired an attorney with lawsuits possibly coming," according to sources cited by Bill Shanks of the MACON TELEGRAPH. Several sources were "amazed that Coppolella would be offered a financial package after being forced to resign." Coppolella and Int'l Scouting Supervisor Gordon Blakeley, who was also forced to resign, "have been interviewed" in N.Y. by MLB investigators. Coppolella was interviewed in N.Y. "during the final week of the regular season." He also was "called back to Atlanta from Miami on Sept. 30 and faced more questions as investigators went to Coppolella’s house." MLB "continues to be surprised at how many potential violations are being discovered." Shanks noted the Braves for now "continue to try and conduct regular business" (MACON TELEGRAPH, 10/15). In Atlanta, David O'Brien cited sources as saying that MLB's investigation is "inching toward its end, but the sordid situation and penalties likely won’t be laid out for public consumption until after the World Series." O'Brien noted MLB "prefers not to detract from its showcase postseason series." But at least one or two other team officials were "believed to be in the crosshairs of the investigation." Coppolella hiring legal representation and being offered severance "stokes the theories" that the Braves "want this to go away as quickly as possible and that the now-disgraced GM didn’t go entirely rogue and doesn’t intend to take the fall alone" (AJC.com, 10/16).
BREAKING GROUND: In Sarasota, Zach Murdock in a front-page piece notes the Braves yesterday "formally broke ground" at the site of their planned $100M Spring Training complex in North Port, Fla. Braves Vice Chair John Schuerholz "welcomed a crowd of more than 100 fans, residents and local elected officials" to the team during a "short opening ceremony." The current plans include an "80-acre complex with an 8,000-seat stadium, practice fields, multipurpose public fields, public plaza and an eventual player development academy" (Sarasota HERALD-TRIBUNE, 10/17).