Court deals Jeffrey Loria significant setback in Marlins profit-sharing lawsuit

If the legal battle between Miami-Dade County and former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria was a boxing match, the county would be ahead on every judge’s scoreboard after round one.

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According to Miami mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, the court on Thursday ruled in favor of the county on an important component of the profit-sharing lawsuit it filed against Loria and the Marlins last week.

The court agreed that Loria breached a 2009 profit-sharing agreement that was reached as a concession to Miami-Dade county and the city of Miami in return for paying the majority of the $515 million bill to build Marlins Park. The agreement required Loria to pay the county five percent of any profit made from selling the team within a 10-year window.

Loria officially sold the Marlins to a group led by Derek Jeter for $1.2 billion in October 2017. That’s after buying the franchise for a reported $158 million in 2002.

After seeing those numbers, the county was obviously expecting to receive a nice payment per the agreement. As we learned on Feb 2., Loria refused, claiming a paper loss once taxes, transaction costs and other expenses were taken into account. The county wasn’t buying that and neither was the court after Loria failed to back up his claim in a five-page financial summary that was reportedly void of much detail.

Former Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria is on the ropes after a court ruled that he breached a 2009 profit-sharing agreement with Miami-Dade County. (AP)

As Mayor Gimenez and other legal experts have noted, the court’s ruling is a knockdown but not a knockout by any means. It’s truly the first round in what could still be an extended legal battle. But it does open the door for Miami-Dade County to really dig in and build a case against Loria. That’s considered good news for the county and its taxpayers, and a pretty significant setback for Loria and possibly the current Marlins regime.

It’s worth noting again that the multi-faceted lawsuit doesn’t just come after Loria. It also names the current Marlins ownership group led by Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman. Loria clearly has the most to lose, but his shady dealings could continue to have a big impact on the Marlins.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Yahoo Sports Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!