Thursday, July 29, 2010
Rodriguez objects to bankruptcy auction
By Richard Durrett
Former Texas Rangers and current New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez filed an objection to the Rangers' bankruptcy plan Wednesday over concerns about whether he would receive the $24.9 million he's owed in deferred compensation.
Rodriguez's attorney, Joe Wielebinski of Dallas, said in the filing that his client is objecting "out of an abundance of caution due to the potential uncertainties in the plan." The Rangers went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late May.
Rodriguez isn't the only player listed as a creditor. Current Rangers third baseman Michael Young is owed nearly $4 million.
Other former players among the list of creditors include Kevin Millwood ($12.9 million); Vicente Padilla ($1.7 million); Mickey Tettleton ($1.4 million); and Mark McLemore ($970,051.97).
Rodriguez didn't file the only objection Wednesday to the auction plan, which is scheduled to proceed Aug. 4 as directed by U.S. Bankruptcy Judge D. Michael Lynn. Major League Baseball, the Major League Baseball Players Association and the team's lenders also objected to various parts of the plan.
In its motion, the MLBPA said it supports the Rangers' sale as long as the new owner pays what is owed to the team's current and former players, a provision in baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
"We have no reason right now to doubt that any of the prospective buyers would consider anything else, but we need to preserve all of the players' legal rights," union lawyer David Prouty said.
Potential bidders have until Tuesday evening to submit bids, and an auction is planned for the following day if there is more than one bid. Rangers Baseball Express, the group headed by Pittsburgh attorney Chuck Greenberg and club president Nolan Ryan, came to an agreement to buy the club from Hicks Sports Group in January, but objections by the creditors led the club to file a prepackaged bankruptcy plan.
Now the team is up for auction, but any other buyer must out-bid the existing agreement on the table by Rangers Baseball Express. Their $575 million bid includes paying the full $204 million owed to A-Rod and other unsecured creditors.
But under the bidding procedures, other potential buyers can decide which provisions to include in their offers.
Other potential bidders could include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, whose attorney, Clifton Jessup, told ESPNDallas.com Tuesday that his client was continuing his due diligence in an effort to figure out if he wanted to make a bid.
It's possible Cuban could partner with someone else in an attempt to purchase the club. Houston businessman Jim Crane, who attempted to buy the club last year, and Dallas businessman Jeff Beck, are possible bidders.
Richard Durrett covers the Rangers for ESPNDallas.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.