Major League Baseball team owners have voted to approve John Angelos as “control person” for the Baltimore Orioles, meaning he has succeeded his father as the executive responsible for the team, two sources said Tuesday.
The approval signals an official transition from the leadership of Peter Angelos, 91, whose health has declined in the past few years.
Every club must designate an executive as the primary contact for MLB. The official is responsible for team operations and ensuring league rules are complied with.
A three-quarters vote — at least 23 of the 30 club owners — is needed for such an appointment. John Angelos, a Baltimore-raised lawyer, received the approval last month, said sources from the league and team who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process was private.
The league would not disclose the vote count, and the Orioles declined to comment.
The club has long had a strained relationship with MLB, owing partly to a continuing disagreement with the league and the Washington Nationals over how much the Orioles' television network owes the Washington team in television broadcast rights. The dispute has dragged on for years, with the Orioles arguing repeatedly that MLB is not a fair arbiter of the team’s claims. Sources said last month’s vote is a sign the relationship is workable.
A team’s control person and principal owner are often one and the same. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said team owners prefer to have as their point of contact someone who is the largest — or among the largest — stakeholders.
In the Orioles’ case, Peter Angelos continues to hold a majority of the limited partnership that owns the club. But he is no longer able to run the team, which has been overseen by John — the eldest son, who is in his early 50s — and his brother Louis, who is also a lawyer.
During the transition, the team has sought to assure Baltimore fans it is stable and intends to remain in the city.
In a letter emailed Monday to fans, Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said he wanted to make clear “that there is nothing uncertain about the future of your Orioles in Baltimore.”
The letter came days after The Baltimore Sun reported that people are looking to form groups to buy the club, should the Angelos family decide to sell it. The team has indicated no plans to sell.
Selling the team while Peter Angelos is alive would subject the owner to steep capital gains taxes based on how much the club’s value has appreciated over the years. If his heirs sold the Orioles soon after his death, tax laws would give them the enormous benefit of eliminating the capital gains tax because the club would be assessed at the current fair-market value.
The Angelos family has said it would be premature to release any succession plan for the club.
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In his letter, Elias wrote that there was an organizational commitment “to stay the course for decades to come as we succeed on and off the field in leading the way for our Baltimore community.”