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Star Tribune Wants Selig to Resign

January 12, 2002

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NEW YORK (AP) _ While Minnesota’s largest newspaper called on commissioner Bud Selig to resign, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Saturday he wouldn’t hold another hearing on baseball.

The Star Tribune of Minneapolis made its decision following revelations that Selig’s Milwaukee Brewers received a loan from a company owned by the family of Twins owner Carl Pohlad.

Noting that three former commissioners called the loan a possible conflict of interest, the newspaper said in a Saturday editorial that ``it turns out that not only are Selig and Pohlad buddies, they were business partners in apparent violation of baseball’s rules prohibiting secret loans among teams.″

Selig did not immediately return a phone call left at his home Saturday.

Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Mich., the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said Friday he would ask the committee chairman to reopen a hearing on baseball following the loan revelations.

``Any issues related to the $3 million loan the Milwaukee Brewers received in 1995 from a company controlled by the Pohlad family is an issue for MLB and not for the U.S. Congress to resolve,″ committee chairman F. James Sensenbrenner, a Wisconsin Republican, said Saturday.

It is doubtful Congress will act on legislation to repeal baseball’s antitrust exemption, granted by a 1922 Supreme Court decision.

``Sensitive labor negotiations between MLB and the players are underway; I do not believe another House Judiciary Committee hearing would help bring a prompt resolution that allows the 2002 MLB season to open on time. Opening the season on time should be the goal,″ Sensenbrenner said.

The Star Tribune reported earlier this week that in 1995 the Brewers received a $3 million loan from a company owned by the Pohlad family. Baseball prohibits teams and officials from ``directly or indirectly″ lending money to other teams and their officials.

On Friday, Colorado Rockies owner Jerry McMorris said Selig gave advance approval for the loan to McMorris’ Timnath Farms Inc. from a Pohlad company.

In addition, the St. Louis Cardinals borrowed money from 1996 into last year from Provident Bank, whose largest shareholder is Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner, The New York Times reported Saturday.

Owners voted Nov. 6 to eliminate two teams, with Minnesota and the Montreal Expos the likely targets. Pohlad possibly could get more in a contraction payment than a sale of the team and has not said whether he will deal with Donald Watkins, an Alabama businessman who wants to buy the Twins.

``This lays even barer the unholy murder-for-profit scheme the two men have hatched in which Pohlad gets a bundle of cash for killing the Twins,″ the Star Tribune said. ``Selig’s Brewers get a bigger share of the Midwest market, and the commissioner ingratiates himself to owners who want `contraction’ to cover their foolish expansions in Florida and other bumblings.″

As a replacement for baseball’s top job, the Star Tribune suggests former Sen. Bill Bradley, former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, NBC broadcaster Bob Costas or historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.

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