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Lawyer says that Jim Crane is no war profiteer. Not that it really helps.

Sep 22, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT

Jim Crane AP

Look, I have no idea why Major League Baseball is dragging its feet on approving Jim Crane as the next owner of the Astros. Maybe it’s that “I don’t want to move to the American League” thing. Maybe it’s because of the long and rich history between Crane’s company and the EEOC. Maybe it’s because of problems with the deal’s financing.

And then, of course, there are those charges out there that Crane’s company engaged in war profiteering.  That one sounds pretty ugly. The optics, as they say, of that sort of thing are just horrible, what with baseball being the number one consumer of military aircraft flybys, patriotic songs and red, white and blue bunting and all of that.

But at least one person says that baseball should put its mind to rest on the matter:

A Beaumont attorney, who was involved in the war profiteering civil lawsuit brought by the Department of Justice against Houston businessman Jim Crane’s former company, Eagle Global Logistics, said Crane was not the target of the lawsuit … The lead attorney for the two whistleblowers involved in the case, Greg M. Dykeman, sent a letter to Crane Wednsday stating that Crane was not the target of the lawsuit.

“The purpose of my writing is to provide the following representation for the possible purpose of facilitating the sale of the Astros: at no time during this lawsuit and investigation was there ever any belief or evidence that you personally had any involvement with or were even aware of the scheme by the responsible employees. All indications were that this was an isolated incident and you had no knowledge of their actions,” Dykeman wrote in his letter … In an interview with FOX 26 Sports Dykeman said he wrote the letter because he is a fan of the Astros and owner Drayton McLane, wanted to help out with the sale of the franchise and that he believed he is in a position to state that Crane was not involved in war profiteering.

Look, that’s nice and all, but if you ever find yourself in a position where a lawyer has to make it clear in a letter that the really nasty stuff that went on at your company had nothing to do with you personally, you may have already lost the p.r. battle. It’s akin to having witness provide you with an alibi at your murder trial. Sure, it may get you off the hook, but it’s not gonna get you invited to any of the parties you used to attend back before you were charged.

Baseball likely doesn’t care about what happens officially. They just don’t want the general stink that accompanies the charges regardless of who is specifically to blame.

  1. Chris Fiorentino - Sep 22, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    “Baseball likely doesn’t care about what happens officially. They just don’t want the general stink that accompanies the charges regardless of who is specifically to blame.”

    Thus the problem with baseball whenever a team is up for sale. Instead of going with the guy with the most CASH, they go with the guy who is going to fit into their group better without causing any type of public relations problems. Look, everyone knows that Mark Cuban should be a baseball owner. He would be absolutely perfect for the sport…no salary cap…loves sports…treats his players with respect…and is highly intelligent. Until baseball gets the stick out of their asses about guys like Cuban, they will always have this kind of trouble whenever there is a sale.

    And I only mention Cuban because he is the only one I know…I am sure there are other just like him who would love to get in but can’t get past the Gestapo and it’s leader Heir Bud. Does anyone think that if Bud were the commissioner in 1973 that a guy like Steinbrenner would have been allowed into the clique? Yeah, me neither.

    • gogigantos - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:16 AM

      Ownership is a very exclusive club. When the club forgets that a new member needs to be able to pay the bills it gets in trouble and all the members suffer. I understand Cuban not being welcome in the club, he might upset the members, or their wives, or girlfriends. But, being a great guy to have at the Club functions doesn’t make him a great member, see LA. I really hope that the base issue is money, or agreeing to the financial rules and playing by them, decorum. I’m pretty sure everybody makes a mountain so long as they play along.
      I remember being unhappy that Colangelo(?) got the Snakes in as a NL team with a thought, or was it a promise, that they would move to the A.L. later. Turned out Selig’s own Crew moved to the N.L. and still there is unbalance. Maybe the issue is simply moving to the AL, and still unbalance, schedule.
      The issue should money, cash on hand, in the bank, willingness to part with it and, well, money,,,, the P.R. shiite can be handled. well, lawyers writing letters of reference isn’t really a reference is it,, Maybe Crane folds under the slight magnifying glass applied to his business life. Better for the Club of ownership that he fold now than caving under a microscope later. I hope the issue is simply money. Ask Brandon Phillips or Lance Berkman, it is supposed to be about the money.
      Club rule #1. none of this is for a moment about the fans
      sorry, I am a windy old mofo,,, agree CFiorentino, the rules for admission to the Club seem a little wacked. Maybe they are a bit more careful about the money having been bit in LA so hard,, the stink of bad P.R. is a concern,, maybe the stink of not buying enough rounds at the Club functions is a problem too.
      Hey, maybe the guy is just boring and they may want a more “Cuban” like guy to pony up and bring some life to the party of ownership. Maybe there are a few that remember fondly old George and miss him,, all in all, old Steinbrenner was good for the game, no?

  2. heynerdlinger - Sep 22, 2011 at 10:23 AM

    Is it just me, or would this kind of letter carry a lot more weight if it were written by someone at the Justice Department who is actually bringing the lawsuit?

  3. purnellmeagrejr - Sep 22, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Football and the military actually seemed much more tightly connected to me – recruitment ads – military presence (especially at the Super Bowl.

  4. APBA Guy - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:20 PM

    This letter raises more questions than it answers. Considering just the contracting abuses that we know about in Iraq, how bad did the situation at Crane’s company have to be for this litigation-averse Justice Dept to bring suit? And is Crane’s defense the same as Rick Scott’s (successful) Medicare fraud defense, ie, “I was only the CEO, how was I supposed to know what was going on?”.

    Too many red flags on this guy. Time to move on.

  5. steveohho - Sep 22, 2011 at 12:39 PM

    “‘war profiteering” Whats the whole point of a war if people can’t profit from it?

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