Kush­ner fam­ily puts brakes on talks to buy Mar­lins

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - SPORTS - By Steven Wine

MI­AMI >> The Kush­ner fam­ily, which has close ties to the White House, put the brakes on its ne­go­ti­a­tions to buy the Mi­ami Mar­lins be­cause of a re­port team owner Jef­frey Lo­ria may be nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Trump to be­come am­bas­sador to France.

Joshua Kush­ner, whose older brother is an ad­viser to the pres­i­dent, has a pre­lim­i­nary agree­ment to buy the Mar­lins. But in a state­ment re­leased late Wed­nes­day by Kush­ner’s brother-in-law, Joseph Meyer, the fam­ily ex­pressed con­cern the sale might “com­pli­cate” the am­bas­sador­ship ap­point­ment.

“Al­though the Kush­n­ers have made sub­stan­tial progress in dis­cus­sions for us to pur­chase the Mar­lins, re­cent re­ports sug­gest that Mr. Lo­ria will soon be nom­i­nated by the pres­i­dent to be am­bas­sador to France,” the state­ment said. “If that is true, we do not want this un­re­lated trans­ac­tion to com­pli­cate that process and will not pur­sue it. The Kush­n­ers re­main in­ter­ested in pur­chas­ing a team and would love to buy the Mar­lins at an­other time.”

The New York Post re­ported Wed­nes­day that Lo­ria, a New York art dealer, is likely to be the next French am­bas­sador. The re­port named him as one of four peo­ple se­lected by White House chief of staff Reince Priebus for top diplo­matic posts.

Lo­ria is a long­time ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the Repub­li­can Na­tional Com­mit­tee, which Priebus led un­til tak­ing the job with Trump. Fundrais­ing records show Lo­ria gave $125,000 last fall jointly to the Trump cam­paign and RNC.

It has long been a pres­i­den­tial tra­di­tion to re­ward gen­er­ous po­lit­i­cal donors with plum am­bas­sador­ships.

The state­ment from the Kush­n­ers was the first pub­lic con­fir­ma­tion of their ne­go­ti­a­tions with Lo­ria.

“Our fam­ily has been friends with Jeff Lo­ria for over 30 years, been in busi­ness to­gether, and even owned a Triple-A base­ball team to­gether,” the state­ment said, re­fer­ring to an Ok­la­homa City club.

Mar­lins of­fi­cials haven’t com­mented. Team pres­i­dent David Sam­son said he will speak Fri­day about the sta­tus of sale ne­go­ti­a­tions.

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