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Rays Minority Owners Sue Stuart Sternberg, Allege Secret Montreal Negotiation

A lawsuit has been filed against Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg due to an alleged plot to sell the team to Montreal investors. 

Sternberg was sued by a group of minority owners for the Rays, who accuse him of acquiring additional control of the Rays as he simultaneously attempted to sell an interest of the team to Montreal investors in 2014. 

The Rays' exclusivity agreement with Tropicana Field requires them to play all home games in St. Petersburg, Fla., through 2027. Sternberg's alleged actions may have violated that exclusivity clause, per the Tampa Bay Times.

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Sternberg increased his stake in the Rays to 85% from 49% in 2004, per the Times. According to the lawsuit, Sternberg acquired greater shares of the team through "a secret series of contracts," before he began negotiating a sale of those shares with Canadian businessman Stephen Bronfman and his Montreal Baseball Group in '14. 

The lawsuit accuses Sternberg of forcing partners to sell their shares at a reduced price. In 2020, Sternberg allegedly transferred the Rays to a "new company under his sole management, without notifying the other partners," per the Times

The Rays have played at Tropicana Field in St. Petersberg since the franchise was established in 1998. Tampa Bay has reached the playoffs in each of the last two seasons, winning the American League in 2020. 

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