Steve Cohen has the 23 votes required to approve his purchase of the Mets, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the process. If New York City mayor Bill de Blasio moved to kill the deal, the group led by Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez would not have the votes, per those sources.
Chicago White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf is widely expected to vote no on Cohen, and could bring three or four owners along with him, according to a person with direct knowledge of the process. Beyond that potential coalition, owners plan to support Cohen’s plan.
As SNY reported last week, the vote is expected to occur this week. Soon after, perhaps next week, the sale would close and Cohen would take control of the team.
The only known potential delay would be a review of the sale by de Blasio’s office.
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. But Cohen was not personally charged with a crime, making it unclear what grounds de Blasio would have to block the deal.
Sources close to the deal believe that de Blasio could make a case that Cohen’s proximity to these violations is sufficient to halt the sale, or at least delay it for a deeper review. On Friday, de Blasio spokesperson Bill Neidhardt told SNY, “At this point the Mayor and his office are evaluating.”
On Monday, de Blasio struck a somewhat different tone.
“This is something our law department is evaluating, we're going to get to a resolution on this very quickly,’ the mayor told reporters. “Because the land that Citi Field is on belongs to the city. the city always has to have a role when there is an ownership change. There's a process for doing that, the law department is doing its due diligence right now. I'll be getting a report from them soon, it'll be based on the facts and I will respond to it quickly."
League officials still do not believe that the mayor will block the deal, though his potential intervention has caused consternation among the parties of what has turned into a complicated and dramatic process.
People familiar with the sale process say that Rodriguez and Lopez, who finished second in the bidding for Cohen, are not well-positioned to jump back in. While it is impossible to prejudge an outcome on a vote that isn’t in fact happening, sources firmly believe that owners would not approve that group.
Even with Lopez as control person, the baggage of Rodriguez’s 2013 war with MLB and the Players’ Association over his record-setting PED suspension weighs heavily on the minds of some owners, sources say.