UPDATED at 5:45 p.m. with reaction from Macciello (below):
Gene Maddaus of L.A. Weekly has the supposed latest on Josh Macciello, the Studio City father of three who claimed he had the resources to submit a $2.2 billion deal to buy the Dodgers at auction in a story we did on him more than a month ago (linked here).
Because of Maddaus’ background research on Macciello and his two main partners (both of which asked us to keep their names out of the story on him back on Feb. 11 to protect their privacy, and we honored that), the bid fell apart, claims Maccielo in this story (linked here).
It’s a convienent explanation as to why this story may have reached its end point. Of course, we had skepticism about Macciello from the very beginning when we reached out to him in the first place for our story. But it once it was on our radar, it was too good just to let go away. And there were two major reasons why we decided to go with it at that point.
Macciello had just come off of an appearance with John Ireland and Steve Mason on their 710-AM KSPN show, making a case that he should have been included in the accredited bidding process, but felt he was slighted.
What if Macciello was so frustrated and angry during all this that he filed a suit in bankruptcy court, and held up the entire sale process? He admitted to us that was a possibilty but he didn’t want to have to go there. We wanted to make sure we pointed that out first — here was someone with a chance to extend this Frank McCourt sale past its April 1 deadline and possibly delay everything.
Another possibility: McCourt could be keeping Macciello’s bid in his back pocket, waiting to spring it on the MLB owners at the very end, which would be (as we wrote) “the equivalent of some neighborhood kids lighting a paper bag on fire and setting it on their porch.” And you know what that bag was filled with.
Macciello admitted: “I’m counting on that as the winning factor.”
Why would that be below McCourt’s modus operandi?
Go back to those quotes and others in our story, which was never intended to be any kind of investigative piece. The line Macciello used when saying he wasn’t doing this for publicity, to be another Kardashian, was sassy enough to make it the front page of the Sports Business Daily on Feb. 13.
Said Macciello: “I feel that my ownership of the Dodgers will be more than just a guy fulfilling his dreams. It’ll impact this country, which has no guidance right now. People feel lost in this horrible time in America right now, that there’s no hope with big business and government and everyone else screwing them over. And then here comes this guy, who’s not part of all that, who wins this organization, the underdog.”
The story wrote itself.
Macciello knew his chances were slim from the beginning, but he talked a great game. He had no high-profile, public-friendly front man — he tried to play that part himself — but with the way the MLB is structured, he was simply rolling the dice with apparent resources that may or may not have been fully funded.
Somehow, if Macciello could have pulled it off, it would have been beyond ridiculous, but then again, stranger things have happened in this McCourt ownership and court-room dramas.
The Los Angeles Times has refused from the start to mention Macciello’s name in the whole MLB vetting process of potential ownership groups, but we know reporter Bill Shaikin has been in contact with Macciello, who actually told us during our interview and showed me that Shaikin had been calling him on his cell phone.
(Shaikin seemed vindicated when he tweeted Wednesday night with a link to the Maddeus story, saying: “For those who have asked why we have not written about Josh Macciello, here’s why.”)
Look, I’m not here trying to throw more dirt on the guy, who has a wife and family to support, has apparently been well off enough as a deal-maker to create a decent living for himself, and has to live with whatever world he created for himself. There were too many elements in his story that both made us smile, and gave us thought that he could somehow muck up the process.
We contacted Macciello on Tuesday afternoon, after the latest L.A. Times story laid out how the bidding pool was shrinking again, but that McCourt could have “new potential buyers” to add to the process. Macciello said he would contact us Wednesday to explain what was happening.
Macciello, who had told us back in February that he wasn’t going to talk to any other publication except the Daily News after we did our interview, never called back.
This emperor has no clothes? Well, at least he still has his Dodger jersey.
== Update on a press release issued by Macciello (linked here)