ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Rays say the latest lawsuit filed by a group of limited partners who accuse Stuart Sternberg of wrongfully taking control of the team is a continuation of a "meritless and relentless campaign" against the club and its principal owner.
"They have deployed multiple baseless lawsuits premised on allegations they know are untrue in order to pressure the team and Stuart Sternberg to purchase their interests - which is a right they do not have," the team said Friday in a statement.
The lawsuit filed in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court on June 27 alleges Sternberg transferred legal ownership to a company he owns without the consent of five limited partners, who together own less than 10% of the team.
Similar suits were filed by the limited partners in May 2021 and February 2022.
"Ultimately, what compels us to respond is the fact that the latest complaint contains numerous allegations that the plaintiffs know are false. These intentionally false claims are designed to harm the Rays organization at a time when we are actively engaged in efforts to build a new ballpark in Tampa Bay," the statement said.
"The allegation that a simple and commonplace corporate reorganization stripped the limited partners of the value of their investments and their rights and protections is patently false, and the limited partners know that," the Rays added. "The reorganization was approved by Major League Baseball and the team's lenders, among others. It had no impact on any aspect of the limited partners' ownership interests or partnership rights.
The partners responded with a statement accusing Sternberg and the Rays of "a public character assassination of these limited partners for exercising their legal rights under Florida statutory and common law.''
"Our clients stand by their claims and have certainly never made any allegations that they know to be false,'' the limited partners said. "The current suit is on behalf of the limited partners against Sternberg personally and Rays Baseball Club, based on recently discovered information that had been previously concealed from the limited partners.''