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B-Mets, Main Street Baseball headed to mediation

Binghamton MetsAfter a U.S. District Court judge indefinitely barred the sale of the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League) to anyone but Main Street Baseball and Clark Minker, the two sides will meet before a federal mediator to settle their differences.

In an April 30 decision, U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd urged the two sides to settle their differences via mediation while issuing the indefinite injunction, writing that a decision by B-Mets owners to not sell the team to Main Street Baseball raises “serious questions going to the issue of good faith negotiations.” Main Street Baseball and Clark Minker, who own the Wilmington Blue Rocks (High Class A; Carolina League) agreed to buy the B-Mets for $8.5 million, setting in motion a franchise shift that would see the Texas Rangers buy the Blue Rocks franchise for $12.5 million and move the team (temporarily, we hear) to Kinston, N.C., with an upgrade in 2016 for Frawley Stadium. (The sale of the Blue Rocks franchise is contingent on the purchase of the B-Mets, so Kinston fans can cool their heels for a little while.) After the B-Mets owners deciding not to follow through on the purchase agreement and letting a Letter of Intent expire, Main Street Baseball and Minker sued, saying they had fulfilled all the terms of the LOI and made a $100,000 deposit on the purchase of the team. Two days after the LOI expired the B-Mets announced the sale to another party, who would keep the B-Mets in town.

Hurd’s ruling scrapped that sale; while the B-Mets were free to negotiate with potential buyers, they couldn’t close on a deal until the Main Street Baseball lawsuit was completed.

Initially, the B-Mets owners opposed mediation, while Main Street Baseball and Minker were willing. That opposition has now shifted, with the two sides agreeing on a mediator, U.S. Magistrate Judge David Peebles. From Binghamton Press Connects:

The parties believe that the outstanding issues could be resolved, or significantly narrowed, through a mediation,” Oliver Blaise III, attorney for the buyer said in a May 8 letter to the judge.

The letter notes that the request for a mediation session was prepared with the agreement of defense counsel.

It’s hard to see a sale not happening if the sides are heading to mediation. But the legal system is always full of surprises.

RELATED STORIES: Judge: B-Mets can’t be sold to anyone but Main Street; B-Mets court case scheduled for this week; TRO prohibiting B-Mets sale extended; B-Mets, Main Street Baseball back in court this week; B-Mets sued over aborted sale of team

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