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Luzerne County: SWB Yankees worth at least $25 million

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre YankeesLuzerne County, the co-owner of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Class AAA; International League), says the team is worth at least $25 million — not the current $14.6 million sales price — and seeking an appraiser to determine the team’s true worth.

The county is embroiled in a legal dispute with Lackawanna County over the sale of the team, which is jointly owned by both counties. The New York Yankees and Mandalay Baseball Properties are exercising their option to buy the team in a deal worked out with Lackawanna County. As part of the compromise agreement, first reported here, the teams will agree to a 30-year lease at PNC Field, which can be extended for another 20 in five-year increments. If the pair want to move the team, the Multi-Purpose Stadium Authority will have first option to buy it, or assign those rights to a third party, with the value of the team established by three appraisers. The yearly rent will increase to $750,000.

Luzerne County is suing Lackawanna County over the proceeds of the sale: Lackawanna County says its baseball debt should be settled before the proceeds are split; Luzerne wants it to be 50-50. County commissioners yesterday issued a RFP for an appraiser to come in and determine the truth worth of the franchise (you can view the RFP here in PDF format)

The lawsuit will not affect plans to renovate PNC Field; disputed funds will be placed in escrow.

It’s hard to see how any appraiser would come up with a figure of $25 million, though. The Portland Beavers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) are selling for a reported $18 million to a group led by Jeff Moorad, and many observers felt that was an inflated price; $15 million was a more reasonable betvin this economy. In 2006 the Ottawa Lynx (Class AAA; International League) sold for a reported $14 million.

By comparison, we’ve heard the asking price for two teams recently placed on the market — the Bowie BaySox (Class AA; Eastern League) and Frederick Keys (High Class A; Carolina League) — is $16 million and $10 million, respectively.

RELATED STORIES: Lackawanna County issues RFQ for PNC Field renovations; Debate rages over SWB Yankees sale; Yanks, Mandalay agree to buy SWB Yankees, unveil ballpark renovations; Compromise on the way in SWB ballpark squabble?; Rendell: Clock is ticking on new SWB ballpark financing; Counties continue spat; SWB Yankees likely to be sold this week; Lackawanna County: In a ballpark bind and mad; Squabbling could derail new SWB Yankees ballpark; Pols: Let’s not fix up PNC Field — or sell team to Mandalay, either

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