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Minn. Seeks Answers From Twins, MLB

March 26, 1998

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) _ A state lawyer asked a judge Wednesday to order major league baseball and the Minnesota Twins to answer questions about whether they sought to force the state to build a new ballpark.

Ramsey County Judge Margaret Marrinan will decide whether the state’s antitrust investigation can proceed. She indicated she will not decide for aty least a month.

Lawyers for the team and baseball claimed answering the state’s questions would be burdensome and that the sport is exempt from antitrust suits.

Roger Magnuson, arguing for the Twins, said the questions put forward by the office of Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III constituted ``dragnet discovery″ that would require hundreds of hours to answer.

``All of them are the broadest possible base for inquiry,″ Magnuson said.

Robert Kheel, the National League lawyer, said Humphrey’s office failed to indicate one single fact it might find that would justify a suit. The questions were put forward ``for the purpose of harassing us,″ Kheel said.

Marrinan said she was bothered by the quantity of information sought by the state.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Hofrenning said the state would be willing to omit some questions. Assistant Attorney General Ann Kinsella added that a lawsuit wasn’t necessarily imminent.

``We are just trying to evaluate whether there may be a violation under our laws,″ she said.

She said all the state needs is a ``reasonable basis″ to pursue an investigation and that exists.

``The attorney general has the power to investigate these laws. It’s one of his core functions,″ Kinsella said.

She characterized baseball as a ``group of competing businesses with a mutual interest to make more money.″ And one way to make more money would be to force cities and states to pay for new stadiums.

``It has all the hallmarks of a cartel,″ she said.

The questions were sent less than a month after the Legislature rejected building a new publicly financed stadium.

Humphrey, who has opposed a publicly financed stadium, is running for governor.

``He wants to tell us that it’s his business how many teams should be in each state,″ Kheel said.