But Loria still has some unfinished business before he bolts, including the numerous lawsuits his team has filed against former season-ticket holders who tried to walk away when the team reneged on a bunch of promised perks.
And now one of those fans is determined to exact some revenge on Loria before he abandons South Florida. An attorney for the fan, a longtime Fish diehard named Mickey Axelband, has filed a motion to force Loria to sit for a sworn deposition in the case next week to answer for his crimes on the record.
"The Marlins and especially their owner, Jeffrey Loria, have some serious explaining to do about their treatment of their loyal fans," says Daniel Rose, Axelband's attorney. "They are going to be held accountable for their conduct towards these season-ticket owners such as my client, who was a loyal fan from day one in 1993."
Indeed, Axelband had been a regular at Marlins games dating back to the team's debut in South Florida, when he became an inaugural season-ticket holder. The local veterinarian followed the Fish to their new ballpark in Little Havana when he bought an annual $24,000 package for two seats in a two-year deal.
But like many other fans, Axelband was disgusted when Loria quickly gutted the squad and took away promised bonuses for season-ticket holders such as a private parking entrance. When Axelband balked at paying for the second year of his package, the team sued — an action it has taken against at least eight other season-ticket or luxury-suite holders. Earlier this summer, Loria even tried to foreclose on a building owned by one of those former fans.
If Rose has his way, the owner won't be able to ride off quietly into the sunset without answering some hard questions about his despicable run as team owner. The attorney filed a motion in Miami-Dade civil court last week scheduling a deposition with the team owner September 19 at a downtown law office.
Rose isn't shy about his feelings toward the worst owner in Major League Baseball.
"They failed on their promises," Rose says. "Thankfully, there are laws against this type of conduct towards consumers."
Will Loria actually show for a depo? Who knows? A Marlins team spokesperson referred New Times' questions to Loria's personal flack, who didn't respond. An attorney for the team likewise didn't reply to an email.
But if Loria ever did have to swear to answer questions under oath, there are some obvious questions to throw his way, such as:
- Why did you blatantly lie to Miami taxpayers about your team's profit margins while begging for a new stadium?
- Did you deliberately delay the sale of your team to ensure you wouldn't have to share any profits with taxpayers?
- Do you, like your smarmy, terrible ex-stepson David Samson, think the Miamian are too dumb to realize you've spent a decade ripping them off?
- Did you set out to destroy baseball in South Florida, or was that just a byproduct of your insatiable greed?