Three Diamondbacks minority owners are suing Ken Kendrick over forced buyouts

By Zach Buchanan | The Athletic 

Three minority owners of the Diamondbacks claim that the club and managing general partner Ken Kendrick is illegally trying to force them to either increase their investment in the team or relinquish their stakes at a price the minority owners say is unfairly discounted, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The plaintiffs — Alfredo Molina, who is the chairman and CEO of Phoenix-based Molina Fine Jewelers; former pro pitcher Jim Weber; and limited liability company Carlise Investments — claim that the Diamondbacks’ ownership group, led by Kendrick, acted unlawfully when it told them each either to increase their investment in the team to at least a one-percent stake of ownership or sell each of their “ownership units” back to the team at a price of $60 per unit.

Arizona Diamondbacks managing partner Ken Kendrick

Their attorney, Roger Cohen of the Phoenix law firm Jaburg Wilk, said there is no legal basis for such an act and that all three are within their rights to continue their involvement in the Diamondbacks’ ownership group at their current level of investment. In an interview with The Athletic, Cohen said he can “only speculate” as to Kendrick’s motives but he thinks “it had to do with consolidating and increasing the ownership stake of the remaining owners.”

“Why they would want to do that, why they would treat our clients that way, to be honest, I can’t imagine,” Cohen added. “It doesn’t make any sense. There is no logic to it.”

Carlise Investments has been a part of team ownership since 1998, according to the filing, and initially owned more than one percent of the team before subsequent fundraising diminished its slice. Molina and Weber both bought into the team in 2004, when the team was desperate for cash after taking on operating losses of more than $300 million. (That same year, Kendrick ousted Jerry Colangelo as managing general partner over concerns about the team’s finances.) Molina invested further in the team in 2009.

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