SAN DIEGO — The litigation between brothers Louis and John Angelos, sons of Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos, has spilled family drama into public view and cast uncertainty regarding the future of the franchise. But at the winter meetings on Tuesday, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred issued a vote of confidence for the Orioles organization and its ownership structure.
Manfred asserted that “as long as I have this job, I think you can count on the fact the Orioles are going to be in Baltimore,” quelling concern that the franchise could relocate. In legal documents, there was speculation that John Angelos might seek to move the team, with Nashville as a possible destination.
And while Manfred expressed regret over the litigation, he said he has met with John Angelos, chairman and CEO of the Orioles, and his mother, Georgia Angelos, in person to discuss the stability of the organization. He came away from that meeting encouraged about the state of baseball in Baltimore.
“I’m comfortable with the positions that they’ve taken,” Manfred said at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego. “It’s absolutely clear that under baseball’s rules, John Angelos is the control person and he has the vote for the club. So, I’m sorry there’s litigation involved. It attracts all kinds of negative attention to the game. Having said that, I’m really comfortable with the way the club is being run and our relationship with the club and Major League Baseball’s relationship with the club.”
The litigation between Louis and John Angelos began in June, when Louis sued his older brother and their mother, alleging that they were pushing him out of the family fortune and baseball team.
The family came into control of the Orioles three decades ago through Peter Angelos, the billionaire who built his legal empire as one of the first attorneys in the United States to take on asbestos cases. He has served as the lead investor in the group that bought the Orioles in 1993.
But Angelos collapsed from heart problems in 2017, and he experiences advanced dementia, according to court documents.
Louis Angelos’ lawsuit speculated that John Angelos might want to move the team. In a statement, John Angelos reiterated, “As long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor, the Orioles will remain in Baltimore.”
Manfred backed that statement Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Georgia Angelos has stated in court documents that she determined it was in the best interest of the family to sell the Orioles, a decision that her husband empowered her to make. She sued her younger son, alleging that selling his father’s law firm to himself for a price to be determined amounted to elder abuse.
Judge Keith R. Truffer has scheduled a hearing on Dec. 13 in the litigation.
Dylan Segelbaum reported from Baltimore.