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Buffett, Shea selling Storm Chasers

Omaha Storm ChasersBill Shea, Warren Buffett and Walter Scott are selling the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) to a group that includes Gary Green and Alan Stein, the team’s former president.

Sources close to the situation shared details of the sale with Ballpark Digest, which we first reported 10 days ago. The sale closed nine days ago, but a press conference is scheduled for tomorrow in Omaha. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Shea, who also is the lead owner of the Lexington Legends (Low Class A; Sally League), has owned the majority share of the Storm Chasers since 2006, buying out Matt Minker. The sale marks the return of Stein to the franchise. One of the more popular figures in Minor League Baseball, Stein, who retired at the end of the 2011, will be back in Omaha as an investor and a consultant.

Martie Cordaro will remain as president and general manager of the Storm Chasers, answering to a new management firm set up by Green and his father, Stephen Green. A smart decision: working with Stein, Cordaro oversaw the team’s successful move from Rosenblatt Stadium to Werner Park and supervised the team’s branding efforts from the Omaha Royals to the Omaha Storm Chasers.

Lead investor Gary Green is a well-known entity in Minor League Baseball, serving as an investor in the Richmond Flying Squirrels (Class AA; Eastern League); he’s also the owner of Alliance Building Services, which offers a variety of services (cleaning, security, etc.) to Manhattan office-building owners. His father is also an investor in the purchase: Stephen Green’s SL Green Realty Corp. is a major investor in Manhattan real estate and is the number one office REIT in the United States, based on total return.

The rest of the ownership group, operating as Alliance Baseball LLC: Larry Botel, co-founder of Alliance Baseball LLC and JOSS Realty Partners; managing partners in the deal are Eric Foss, CEO of Aramark; and Brian Callaghan, co-founder of Apex Systems.  

For Buffett, the sale ends his ownership of the franchise, which began in 1991 when his Union Pacific Railroad bought the Omaha Royals, then in the American Association, from Gus Cherry. Minker bought out the railroad in 2001 and then sold the O-Royals to Bill Shea in 2006. Along the way Buffett and Scott retained their minority ownership of the team.

RELATED STORIES: Omaha Storm Chasers on verge of saleStein steps down in Lexington, Omaha2011 Executives of the Year: Martie Cordaro and Alan Stein


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