The owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers are embroiled in an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into whether Michael Milken has violated the terms of his lifetime ban on securities trading, according to an article in Fortune. The Dodgers were bought for $2 billion by Guggenheim Baseball Management last May. The winning bid was led by Mark Walter, CEO of Guggenheim Partners, and included the president of the money management company, Todd Boehly, as well as movie producer and Golden State Warriors owner Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves, and former Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson.
Guggenheim Baseball used hundreds of millions of dollars of insurance company money controlled by Guggenheim Partners to buy the Dodgers. Indeed, the proceeds from Guggenheim Partners is what effectively enabled Walter's group to outbid the $1.4-to-$1.5 billion bids by billionaires Stan Kroenke and Steve Cohen for the team.
Milken has been a longtime client of the firm and at times has had as much as $800 million invested with Guggenheim, some of it in a hedge fund run by the firm's president Boehly. His lifetime ban prohibits him from profiting from offering investment advice. The SEC is looking at whether Milken is violating that ban by effectively acting as a manager of Guggenheim investments beyond his own. Walter told Fortune: "Mike (Milken) doesn't have an ownership or managerial role of any kind at Guggenheim. "
The Dodgers are trying to get a new, $7 billion television deal with Time Warner Cable that would start with the 2014 season. The team is trying to shield as much of the revenue from the deal as possible from MLB's 34% revenue sharing tax that goes towards supporting low-revenue teams. But the controversial plan has still not been vetted by the league. The televison deal is vital for Guggenheim and the team because at some point the money from the insurance companies needs to be returned.
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