June 13: John Angelos released a statement this morning that wholly rejects the notion of ever relocating the Orioles and pushes back against many of the allegations levied by his brother (twitter link):
“…My mother was born and raised in northeast Baltimore, attended city public schools at Eastern High School, and has worked with my father their entire lives to help the city, including by restoring the club to local ownership and preventing its relocation. For them as for me, the Orioles will forever play at Oriole Park, and at no time ever have we contemplated anything different.
Since I was appointed Chairman and CEO according to my parents’ expressed wishes, and voted as the control person for the team by the 30 Major League Clubs, I have taken significant steps to ensure that our beloved franchise’s future remains in Charm City. Just two months ago we celebrated the Maryland General Assembly passing a promising bill to put $1.2 billion into reinvesting and reimagining the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes Oriole Park, ensuring the team will continue to play right here in downtown Baltimore for generations to come. Maryland is committed to keeping our team in this great state, and I am equally committed to keeping the Orioles at the heart of our state. …
I want to assure our Orioles players and coaches, our dedicated front office Senior Leadership Team and staff, and our devoted fans, trusted partners, elected, civic, and entire non-profit leaders, and our community, that the Orioles will never leave. ”
June 12: The hands at the levers of the Baltimore Orioles are fighting each other, according to a report from Tim Prudente and Justin Fenton of The Baltimore Banner. The piece provides details of a lawsuit wherein Louis Angelos is suing his brother John Angelos. Both men are the sons of 92-year-old Peter Angelos, who was the principal investor of a group that purchased the franchise in 1993. The lawsuit from Louis alleges that Peter intended for his two sons and Georgia, wife of Peter and mother of John and Louis, to share control of the team, but that John has since taken steps to seize control of the club against his father’s wishes.
According to the lawsuit, Peter collapsed in 2017 due to the failure of his aortic valve. It seems that, in the subsequent years, plans for succession were developed, with Peter establishing a trust with his wife and two sons as co-trustees to manage the family’s assets. Lou Angelos alleges that John has since tried to take over the reigns against his brother’s wishes. “John intends to maintain absolute control over the Orioles — to manage, to sell, or, if he chooses, to move to Tennessee (where he has a home and where his wife’s career is headquartered) — without having to answer to anyone,” the complaint states.
Among Lou Angelos’ allegations is that Georgia’s priority is to sell the team, with an advisor trying to put together a sale in 2020. According to the suit, John stepped in and nixed this deal. Lou also accuses John of firing, or demanding that other fire, key front office employees, including Brady Anderson. After his playing days, Anderson served in the Baltimore front office, eventually working his way up to vice president of baseball operations. However, he departed the organization in 2019.
By November 2020, Major League Baseball’s other owners had approved John Angelos to take over as the O’s “control person,” in light of Peter’s declining health. As noted at the end of the piece, this franchise is worth an estimated $1,375 billion, according to Forbes. Prudente and Fenton also point out that, earlier this year, the Maryland State legislature passed an initiative committing $1.2 billion for upgrades to Oriole Park as well as the Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, hoping to prevent both franchises from leaving the state. The club’s lease at Camden Yards runs through 2023, and the team has an option to extend the lease by an additional five seasons next February.
Of course, none of Lou Angelos’ allegations have been substantiated in court. It’s possible the litigation winds up being settled or dismissed before ever getting in front of a jury. Nevertheless, it is still noteworthy that one of baseball’s 30 franchises seems to be mired in turmoil at the top level, and there are figures to be plenty to follow over the coming months.
The Orioles have not commented on the matter. The piece contains many details not covered here, and interested readers are encouraged to give it a thorough read in order to get the full story.