Steve Cohen has overcome many obstacles on his path to owning a Major League Baseball team: four previous failures, the intrigue and dislike of his favorite team's current stewards, the persistent shadow of the black edge, the betrayal of a dear friend, some #metoo awkward , the desperately determined efforts of the owner of one of the league's lesser-respected franchises. Tomorrow, despite Jerry Reinsdorf's best efforts, he'll almost certainly climb one of the final hurdles when MLB officially approves its $ 2.475 billion deal for the New York Mets. This leaves one last obstacle, which at first sight seems to be the most serious of all and in fact very likely will see Cohen's dream shattered for the fifth time.
Fortunately for Cohen (and for Mets fans), that final obstacle is a man for whom failure has become a lifestyle – no, who has become failure itself, a living embodiment of pathetic botch and helplessness that even the youngest of children can feel can not achieve at all what he has set out to do: New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
Hizzoner called MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred earlier this month and told him directly that he was opposed to the idea of a hedge fund billionaire buying a local team and using his authority to control the city over the Citi Field lease would be finalized to prevent the sale…. "The 'due diligence' line is Bulls-t," a source familiar with City Hall told The Post. "He told (Major League) baseball that he didn't want Cohen and he told his legal department to find a way to stop it."
The Mets' lease for Citi Field, which is located in a municipal park lot, actually gives City Hall the power to block the team's sale to "any person convicted in a criminal case of a crime or moral confusion or that is an organized crime figure. “Aside from SAC Capital Advisors' little insider trading troubles that don't seem to include Cohen himself. But apparently it's a little wider.
A group of well-connected opponents of the Mets sale to Cohen … They argue that the Citi Field lease gives Hizzoner – a Red Sox fan – a clear right to block the deal and points to a provision in the lease that allows a transaction with a "prohibited person" prevented. A banned person includes not just a person convicted of a crime, but any person “who controls a person or organization convicted of a crime”.
In addition, Cohen admitted that he did not oversee his insider dealers – in a settlement with the SEC.
This finding does not make Cohen guilty of any actual crime, but the new interpretation of "Prohibited Person" could give de Blasio a way to block the lease.
And in the hands of a less incompetent person, this could actually be a very serious obstacle. But like anything else, de Blasio will almost certainly screw it up if he tries.
"De Blasio can make it ugly and he can even try to stop it," said a lawyer with knowledge of the situation. “But he has no real reputation and Cohen is going to sue him. And Cohen will win. "
Bill de Blasio tries to kill Mets sale to Steve Cohen (Thornton / N.Y. Post)