Reggie Jackson went to bat for billionaire Steve Cohen and his bid to purchase the New York Mets.
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“Mr. October” sent a tweet Thursday in support of Cohen amid reports that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is actively trying to get in the way of Cohen’s purchase of the Mets.
“Wishing my friend and New Yorker Steve Cohen, a successful MLB vote Friday to join Baseballs (sic) fraternity. He’s a lifetime fan. He’s wanted the team since the day I ‘Met’ him. I’m sure he’ll get the great Met franchise back on its winning ways. MLB and the city need him. Go my man,” Jackson wrote.
Cohen’s bid to purchase the Mets is expected to go through. But the New York Post reported that de Blasio had a conversation with MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred last month about the Cohen deal and threatened to use the city’s lease of Citi Field to prevent the sale from going through.
A source told the newspaper a conversation between de Blasio and Manfred took place but it was about what the mayor has said publicly.
“The Mayor did call Commissioner Manfred, but the rest of this isn’t true,” de Blasio press secretary Bill Neidhardt tweeted. “The NYC Law Dept is doing their due diligence of examining a new lease on incredibly valuable city-owned land. That’s what the call was about.”
The source told the New York Post: “The ‘due diligence’ line is bulls–t. He’s told [Major League] Baseball he doesn’t want Cohen and he’s told his Law Department to find a way to stop it.”
The potential of New York City trying to block the deal stems from a law that prohibits “[a]ny Person that has been convicted in a criminal proceeding for a felony or any crime involving moral turpitude or that is an organized crime figure” from leasing the ballpark, according to the Post.
The paper reported that the language extends to any individual who has been convicted of a felony or “who controls any person or entity that has been convicted of a felony.”
Cohen’s former hedge fund pleaded guilty to insider trading charges in 2013 and was forced to pay about $1.8 billion in fines. Cohen reportedly reached a deal with the SEC and received a reprimand and a two-year ban from managing outside money. It doesn’t make him guilty of a crime but may place him under the “prohibited person” language.