Baltimore Orioles president John Angelos did not give Maryland Gov. Wes Moore a heads-up that he was selling the team on Tuesday, according to a source familiar with the situation.
Angelos' snub came even though the two spent the better part of a year in intense negotiations over a new lease for the ballclub to remain at Oriole Park in Camden Yards.
David Rubinstein, the Maryland-based billionaire who is leading the team purchase, has been “actively communicating with the governor,” including Tuesday night when news of the sale broke, a source said.
The investment group is buying the Orioles for $1.725 billion, multiple sources have confirmed to the Baltimore Banner. Other investors include New York businessman Michael Arugetti and Orioles Hall of Fame player Cal Ripken Jr.
Moore expressed optimism on Wednesday during his first public comments about the deal. He opened a meeting of the State Board of Public Works in Annapolis by congratulating Rubinstein, Arugetti, and Ripken.
“We very much look forward to continuing the strong relationship between the State of Maryland and the Baltimore Orioles,” said Moore, who was wearing an orange striped tie.
Moore highlighted the lease deal the Orioles and the state finally negotiated and signed in December. Although the deal was concluded with Angelos, it is binding on any subsequent owner of the team.
“We are thrilled that being able to keep the Orioles in Baltimore for an extended period of time has been a major priority for this administration and this team,” Moore said. “And we're very proud that the deal this group made months ago means that no matter what this deal is, this will never change. These are the Baltimore Orioles and they're not going anywhere.”
But another member of the Board of Public Works who signed the lease, state Treasurer Derrick Davis, said he felt Angelos lied to state officials.
In December, Angelos made a phone call to Moore to assure him that the Orioles were not for sale — which came after reports that Rubinstein was close to buying the team.
Davis said he was troubled by the fact that Angelos “categorically denied they were for sale” and then went and sold the team.
“I feel lied to. I feel misled,” said Davis, a Democrat.
Davis said he's not sure who to believe or trust.
“It wasn't just that we weren't told something. We were lied to.”
Moore responded by saying he shares concerns about transparency.
“You are quite right,” said the governor. “We deserve transparency and we deserve the truth.”
Moore said the situation highlights the importance of the state working out a long-term deal with the Orioles on the lease. Had there been a short-term extension of the lease, the state would have faced more uncertainty about the future of the team and stadium through a sale.
Comptroller Brooke Lehrman, a Democrat and third-ranking member of the Board of Public Works, said she is looking forward to getting to know the new ownership.
This breaking news story will be updated.
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