Is there a Trump connection to the group that's reportedly trying to buy Marlins?

Big League Stew
Jeffrey Loria (right) is reportedly selling the Marlins and the buyer could be linked to the Trump White House. (AP)
Jeffrey Loria (right) is reportedly selling the Marlins and the buyer could be linked to the Trump White House. (AP)

When a report from Forbes hit the news Thursday morning that Jeffrey Loria had a “handshake agreement” in place to sell the Miami Marlins to an unnamed New York real-estate investor, that brought on the predictable jokes that President Donald Trump might be trying to buy the Marlins. He does love him some Florida.

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Turns out the joke might not be completely off the mark, because another report suggested there’s at least a Trump connection in the line to buy the Marlins. Major League Baseball, however, says that’s news to them. So what we’re left with is a juicy offseason question: Are the Marlins about to be sold to a group that includes Ivanka Trump’s father-in-law? The answer right now is: We don’t know.

But it’s still worth filling you in on what’s been said and reported.

We’ll start at ESPN, where Darren Rovell says multiple sources are telling him that Charles Kushner is among the potential buyers for the Marlins. Kushner is a New York real estate mogul. He’s also the father of Jared Kushner, who is married to Ivanka Trump and has a job in Trump’s White House as a senior advisor. Rovell says he doesn’t know whether Kushner is the primary bidder or even if Kushner’s group is the leading bidder at this point.

Next in line? MLB, which released this statement Thursday afternoon after the reports about Kushner started to circulate:

“Under Major League Baseball rules, the Commissioner’s Office must be informed of any conversations about a potential sale. The Commissioner’s Office has not heard directly or indirectly of any conversation involving Charles Kushner.”

A couple things there: 1. MLB is being pretty proactive here, since it doesn’t normally put out statements about every rumor that’s out there. Ownership matters are serious, though. 2. It seems like a pretty succinct and solid statement from MLB. But since teams aren’t sold too often, we don’t have much idea about track records when it comes to MLB *really* getting full briefings on these matters.

And this seems like a necessary addition: 3. With the Marlins and Loria, always be prepared to be surprised.

Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan did some digging around in campaign docs and found that Loria contributed $125,000 to the Trump Victory committee last year. Under campaign rules, only $5,000 can go to Trump’s campaign; the rest went to the Republican National Committee and state Republican parties. Filings show that Loria’s wife, Julie, made the same donation.


Meanwhile, Jon Heyman at FanRag Sports, is hearing that Charles Kushner isn’t involved in a potential sale — and, further, that he wouldn’t be approved by MLB because he served time in federal prison in 2005 after being convicted of illegal campaign contributions, witness tampering and tax evasion. But, Heyman says, Kushner’s sons could be. Jared Kushner was part of a group that at one point was trying to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kushner has three other children too.

And speaking of Kushner’s other children, the New York Times published a story on Thursday night that added a little more clarity to the Kushner family’s involvement. According to sources close to the matter, the Times is reporting that Charles Kushner’s other son, venture capitalist Joshua Kushner, is spearheading the effort to purchase the Marlins. Joshua is assisted by his brother-in-law Joseph Meyer, who is a “key lieutenant for the family’s investments.” The Times further reported that neither Jared or Charles is involved in this at all.

Ah yes, there’s baseball drama before Valentine’s Day. Just probably not the type you were expecting.

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Mike Oz is the editor of Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at mikeozstew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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