Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sam Zell's dodgy sale of the Chicago Cubs

I suppose RealClearMarkets even had to find a comment on the drawn out story regarding the sale of the Chicago Cubs from the Tribune to the Ricketts family!
The Chicago Cubs aren't going to win anything this year despite having one of baseball's largest payrolls. But their bankrupt owner, Sam Zell's Tribune Co., may be about to hit a home run -- at your expense.

Zell, whose tax dodging is a frequent topic of mine, is trying to unload the team in a deal that would divert almost $300 million from taxpayers to the creditors of Tribune, the nation's second-biggest newspaper company.

The proposed Cubs deal, involving a "leveraged partnership" using lots of borrowed money, is so aggressive that a leading tax expert, Robert Willens of Robert Willens LLC, expects the IRS to challenge it. "The IRS has expressed hostility to this sort of transaction," he said.
It's a huge mess apparently and it's only a baseball team!

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