After a Bloomberg report indicated billionaire David Rubenstein was in talks to buy the Baltimore Orioles, the ballclub’s chairman and CEO John Angelos called Maryland Gov. Wes Moore on Thursday evening to assure the governor the Angelos family does not plan to sell the team, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the call.

In that private phone call between Moore and John Angelos, Angelos refuted Bloomberg’s story, which stated that Rubenstein of Carlyle Group Inc. was engaged in talks. Forbes values the Orioles at around $1.7 billion.

Angelos is the designated “control person” by Major League Baseball in place of his father, Peter, who has suffered from declining health due to heart trouble and dementia. Due to the 94-year-old’s condition, his wife, Georgia, is overseeing their assets. The Angelos family owns 70% of the franchise.

Rubenstein has been linked to the Orioles before, and his interest makes sense: He’s a Baltimore native who attended City College. In August 2022, Bloomberg also linked Rubenstein to a possible purchase of the Washington Nationals, alongside Wizards and Capitals owner Ted Leonsis.

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The Orioles have taken steps toward exploring a sale in the past, according to court documents, such as when Georgia Angelos hired “Goldman Sachs and Jones Day to provide investment banking and legal services in connection with the sale of the Orioles.” In addition, court documents said Peter Angelos felt his family should sell the team upon his death so his wife “could enjoy the great wealth they had amassed together.”

The decision, court documents said, is “Georgia’s to make.”

But in that phone call to Moore, John Angelos expressed his desire to keep the team within the family.

A sale prior to Peter Angelos’ death would be subject to capital gains taxes that could tally in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The uncertainty surrounding the future of the Orioles’ ownership group played a role in a lease agreement between the state and club being put on hold Friday, when Senate President Bill Ferguson expressed his reticence surrounding the ground lease and a potential change in ownership.

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“Fundamentally, I believe that the long-term lease for the use of the ballpark should not be conditioned on whether or not a private owner receives a 99-year ground lease to develop land owned by Maryland taxpayers,” Ferguson told The Baltimore Banner. “This is more relevant today, as recent news has heightened uncertainties about the future ownership of the team.”

Baltimore Banner reporter Pamela Wood contributed to this story.

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville. 

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