Former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow filed a lawsuit against his former employer Monday for breach of contract, seeking more than $22 million after alleging his firing was through a "negotiated resolution" between owner Jim Crane and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred that allowed the Astros to keep their 2017 World Series championship.
Luhnow's attorneys wrote in the filing that the agreement between Crane and Manfred "scapegoated Luhnow for a sign-stealing scandal that he had no knowledge of and played no part in."
The lawsuit was filed in Harris County (Texas) District Court.
According to the filing, Luhnow was still owed $22 million in guaranteed compensation at the time of his firing from a contract signed on May 24, 2018, that was scheduled to pay him more than $31 million in guaranteed compensation, performance bonuses, profits interest and other benefits.
Luhnow is seeking restitution that includes his remaining compensation owed, plus attorney fees and court costs. He is also seeking a jury trial.
His attorneys allege in the lawsuit that MLB's investigation of the Astros sign-stealing scheme was "deeply flawed" and that there was "no credible evidence" that Luhnow had any knowledge of it.
They also point out that "the video room employees who conceived and orchestrated the sign-stealing system remained employed by the club throughout the 2020 season."
Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch were fired by the Astros in January when the results of MLB's investigation were released. Both men were suspended for a season by MLB, with the suspensions ending after the World Series. Hinch has since been hired as the manager of the Detroit Tigers.
Luhnow's lawyers alleged Tom Koch-Weser, the Astros' director of advance information, was the only one of 70 witnesses in MLB's investigation to claim Luhnow spoke of electronic sign stealing. They claimed Koch-Weser stole signs and lied during baseball's investigation and alleged the Astros told Koch-Weser "he could keep his job as long as his actions were sanctioned by his supervisors, including Luhnow."
They said Manfred's investigation "could produce only one untrustworthy source -- the actual ringleader of the Astros' sign-stealing schemes who 'implicated' Luhnow to save his own job."
MLB declined to comment, spokesman Michael Teevan said. The Astros and Koch-Weser did not respond to emails seeking comment.
"The 'investigation' apparently did not review -- and the commissioner conveniently neglected to mention in his report, the more than 22,000 contemporaneous text and chat messages sent or received by this individual that undermine his after-the-fact finger-pointing at Luhnow," the lawyers wrote.
They claimed Koch-Weser texted his colleagues "don't tell Jeff."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.