The Miami Marlins are trying to seize a $725,000 commercial building owned by a fan in an ongoing dispute between team owner Jeffrey Loria and season-ticket holders who say Loria didn't keep his promises, according to court records obtained by the Miami New Times.
According to the New Times, the Marlins have sued at least nine season-ticket holders and luxury-suite owners since 2003. In the latest case, they are suing Kenneth Sack, who signed a contract to buy four years' worth of season tickets in 2012, the first year of the new Little Havana stadium. The Marlins say he owes them $97,200.
In exchange for the long-term promises, fans were supposed to get pre- and postgame buffets and private parking on the first floor. But disgruntled fans told the New Times that those perks disappeared or never happened. The team got off to a lousy start and kept losing. Attendance dropped, the first-floor parking spaces and private entrances failed to materialize, and the buffets were as bad as the team was on the field.
"I didn't want my money back or anything, but I said, 'Please give me back the stuff you promised,'" longtime fan Mickey Axelband told the New Times last year. "The answer I got back was basically, 'Yeah, we know we took it all away, but tough.'"
The Marlins won a judgment against Sack in January, with the court ruling that Sack owed the team the full $97,200. His attorney appealed, saying a heart attack and lengthy hospital stay had caused him to miss key hearings and filings. That civil case remains open.
In March, the Marlins began foreclosure proceedings for a commercial building Sack owns in Oakland Park, Florida, arguing that they can seize the property to fulfill the $97,200 he owes them.
"I don't understand why Major League Baseball continues to allow Jeffrey Loria to behave like this," Daniel Rose, an attorney representing another former season-ticket holder being sued by the Marlins, told the New Times. "At the end of the day, what is the motive to go after fans like this? It just shows their greed and a complete lack of respect for their fan base."
The Marlins declined to comment to the New Times.