To any Mets fan who doesn’t want to believe, despite all evidence to the contrary, that New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s resistance to the Mets sale is a thing, we have bad news: It’s definitely a thing.
Now for the better news: Steve Cohen will still be approved in a vote on Friday of MLB owners, according to sources.
Back to bad news: The sale can’t close anyway until de Blasio signs off.
According to league sources, the mayor recently called the commissioner’s office and informed Rob Manfred of his opposition to the sale. The New York Post was first to report the call.
De Blasio spokesman Bill Neidhardt confirmed that call, but characterized it differently, saying "The NYC Law department is doing their due diligence of examining a new lease on incredibly valuable city-owned land. That's what the call was about ... he called to discuss the review process."
Despite that, parties involved in the sale continue to believe that the mayor will ultimately approve. They have been working to figure out how to satisfy his concerns.
As first reported by USA Today, de Blasio has the right to block the sale to “any person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude.’’
The company that Cohen founded, S.A.C. Capital, pleaded guilty in 2018 to securities fraud and wire fraud and paid $1.8 billion in fines. Cohen was not personally charged with a crime, making it unclear what grounds de Blasio would have to block the deal.
But according to sources, Cohen’s connection to S.A.C. Capital is enough for the mayor to weigh invoking this clause. Cohen opposes that position, of course, and might ultimately prevail -- but any delay could at minimum weaken team president Sandy Alderson’s ability to prepare a front office and roster for the 2021 season.
People directly involved in the sale process admit that they are unsure when this wrinkle will resolve.