Marlins season ticket holder lawsuit could be Jeffrey Loria’s parting gift to new owners

A lawsuit filed by the Miami Marlins against a former season ticket holder looks bad right now, but there is a silver lining in the situation for potential new owners.

A Marlins season ticket holder lawsuit seeking almost $100,000 from one Miami fan appears typical of the team’s fleecing of South Florida residents that has happened under current owner Jeffrey Loria. A closer look into the future of the suit in concert with a possible sale of the team, however, signifies that the lawsuit could actually set up a potential new ownership group quite nicely.

According to Tim Elfrink of The Miami New Times, the Marlins started going after season ticket holders who were late on their payments in June of 2013. One of those people sued by the Marlins was Kenneth Sack. Sack owes the Marlins $97,200 according to the Marlins’ filing in December of 2014. According to Matt Bonesteel of The Washington Post, the Marlins have recently petitioned the court to hand over ownership of a commercial property that Sack owns, valued at $725,000.

If the court grants the Marlins’ wishes, the team would sell the property and keep the portions of the proceeds that Sack owes them, then return the difference to Sack. These legal maneuvers, while rare, aren’t unprecedented for a professional sports team looking to recoup the proceeds of unpaid season ticket contracts. Given Loria and the Marlins’ reputation, however, it’s a bad look.

The local population already has a poor opinion of Loria. That comes from the perception of fire sales to the shady dealings that essentially got the Marlins a new stadium with very minimal investment, paid for by the taxpayers of the area. When several suits are filed against fans seeking even more money, that acts to strengthen the narrative that the Marlins under Loria are only interested in pillaging the wallets of Miami residents with very little value going back to the fans.

There is a potential silver lining in this situation, that could come into play if the many rumors about Loria selling the team soon prove to be true.

According to Daniel Wallach, a prominent sports lawyer referenced in Bonesteel’s article, these lawsuits would become part of the sale if Loria does indeed sell. As Wallach states, it would then be up to the new owners how, along with whether or not, to proceed on the matters.

This would represent an opportunity for the new owners that is as rare as the Marlins’ legal activities; a chance to extend an olive branch to a fan base that is indifferent at best to the team. If the new owners were to offer the defendants in the several suits reduced settlements, or even drop the suits altogether, it could go a long way toward sending a message that a new day has come at Marlins Park.