Group sues MLB for $100M over decision to pull All-Star game from Atlanta

“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta – many of them minority-owned – of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,”  JCN CEO and president Alfredo Ortiz said in the statement.

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A conservative advocacy group called the Jobs Creator Network has filed a federal lawsuit against the MLB following the baseball organization’s decision to pull this year’s all-star game from Atlanta.

As theGrio previously reported, the MLB made its decision after the passage of Georgia’s voting law which includes multiple ID and mailing restrictions, and which Democrats blasted as a blatant assault on voter rights. The JCN lawsuit alleges that the MLB’s decision robs small businesses in Atlanta, many of which are minority-owned, from the stimulating opportunity the all-star game would have brought to Atlanta’s local economy.

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Cardboard cutouts of fans in the otherwise empty seats face the field during the sixth inning of a baseball game between the Atlanta Braves and Tampa Bay Rays in Atlanta, in this Thursday, July 30, 2020, file photo. (AP Photo/John Amis, File)

Past MLB all-star games have raked in between $37 million and $190 million to their host cities, WXIA reports. 

Read More: Stacey Abrams ‘strongly’ urged MLB to keep All-Star game in Atlanta

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the group is demanding that the MLB either brings the game back to Atlanta or pays $100 million in damages, according to an organizational press release. “MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta – many of them minority-owned – of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,”  JCN CEO and president Alfredo Ortiz said in the statement. 

“This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and at ballparks all across the country.”

Read More: Georgia governor vows a fight after MLB yanks All-Star Game

In April, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp pledged to fight against the MLB’s decision, saying, “I want to be clear: I will not be backing down from this fight. We will not be intimidated, and we will also not be silenced. Major League Baseball, Coca-Cola and Delta may be scared of Stacey Abrams, Joe Biden and the left, but I am not.” 

Some legal scholars say that if anything, local businesses near the Atlanta Braves stadium might have a small claim to damages but not the Jobs Creator Network, NBC News reports

“There’s no constitutional or statutory right to profit from an All-Star Game that’s played in the vicinity of your business. No one has breached a contract with you. No one has violated federal law,” Jim Masteralexis, Western New England sports law professor told NBC News

The lawsuit also cited the Ku Klux Klan Act of 1871, claiming that the MLB prohibited “Georgia’s duly elected government from ensuring equal protection of the laws.” Nova Southeastern University law professor Robert Jarvis told NBC News that was a “complete distortion of the KKK Act” and referred to the lawsuit as “the dumbest complaint I have ever read.” 

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