Jeffrey Loria is a seasoned art dealer by day — having opened his own private art dealing business at age 24 — and the universally loathed owner of the Miami Marlins in his spare time. For once, though, it‘s his original gig, and not the beginnings of a Marlins fire sale, that has him in the news in early November.
According to Bloomberg News, that’s because Loria recently made a record-setting sale of a 1954 Alberto Giacometti painting at a Christies Art Auction in New York. The price? A cool $32.6 million. And the amazing thing is he may not have received full value for the piece.
The painting, which had belonged to Jeffrey Loria, the New York dealer and owner of the Miami Marlins, brought $29 million, or $32.6 million with fees. Christie’s had optimistically estimated it would sell for $30 million to $50 million, already a record price for a painting by the artist. (That price smashed the previous record set at Sotheby’s New York in May 2008 — before the financial markets crashed — when a 1964 portrait sold for $14.6 million.)
(Final prices include the buyer’s premium: 25 percent of the first $100,000; 20 percent of the next $100,000 to $2 million; and 12 percent of the rest. Estimates do not reflect commissions.)
The significance here to baseball fans, specifically those few that remain in Miami, is the ultimate value of the painting was nearly equal to the Marlins 2013 payroll — roughly $39 million.
Or as Chris Joseph of the Broward Palm Beach New Times put it: "The problem with all this is, of course, that one painting by an expressionist Swiss artist who's been dead since 1966 costs slightly less than the entire roster of his professional baseball team. The one he threatened to move to San Antonio unless Miami-Dade's taxpayers bought him a snazzy new ballpark. The one he keeps dismantling for "financial" reasons."
Any way you word it, the point is once again driven home about Loria. He's absolutely rolling in money that he's earned as a successful art dealer and business man, but apparently has no interest in turning it around and making a serious investment in the Marlins future. That's his right, of course, but it's also the right of everyone else to be fed up with it and stop putting extra money in his pocket that they know he won't reinvest in the team.
It's basically the same old song-and-dance with Jeffrey Loria, and there's no end to it in sight. The richer the world knows he is, the more despised he'll become as a baseball owner until he makes his first honest attempt to keep the Miami Marlins competitive.
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