Monday, November 19, 2007

Another lawsuit clouds Israel's baseball future: Founder of rival league embroiled in ugly legal battle over kid-killing toys

Lawsuits continue to vex the future of professional baseball in Israel.

A week after we revealed the federal lawsuit against Israel Baseball League founder Larry Baras, readers of this site have brought to our attention an even more serious legal action involving one of the leaders of the rival league that was announced this weekend.

The Chicago Tribune reported in May that the MEGA Brands toy company "allege in a lawsuit that (Israel Professional Baseball League leader) Jeffrey and Lawrence Rosen -- the brothers who sold them Rose Art (makers of the Magnetix building sets), then led that division after the merger -- didn't fix the problems with the dangerous toy in part because they didn't want to jeopardize personal multimillion-dollar payouts tied to profit targets.

"Kenny Sweet Jr., a suburban Seattle toddler, died, and at least 27 other children suffered serious intestinal injuries after swallowing tiny magnets that fell out of Magnetix toys.

"In a statement, the Rosen family denied Mega Brands' allegations, saying that 'prior to its acquisition by Mega Brands' the family 'acted in a thorough and responsible manner with regard to the manufacture, safety, quality control and sale of its Magnetix toy products.'

"Four months before Kenny's death in November 2005, Mega Brands bought Rose Art from the Rosen family for $315 million in cash and stock, plus the assumption of $35 million in debt.

"The Rosens said they told Mega Brands before the merger that customers had complained that magnets were falling out, and the family said it disclosed an attorney's claim that a child was injured..."

The Rosens are suing MEGA Brands in United States District Court in the Southern District of New York, contending that it failed to pay them $51 million, as they say the 2005 sale required. MEGA Brands has countered in court that it does not owe the money to the Rosens. Earlier this year, a federal judge sent the case to arbitration.

Jeffrey Rosen was an investor in the Israel Baseball League who joined with player-attorney Alan Gardner and other IBL veterans to start up the rival Israel Professional Baseball League to take the place of the IBL, which saw its commissioner and nine advisory board members bolt last week, days after Tabloid Baby revealed the details of a federal securities fraud lawsuit against founder Baras.

The Boston bagel and baseball visionary had planned keep the IBL afloat with money from the Spectrum Capital Group, but the investment bankers backed out of the deal after Tabloid Baby revealed that the suit alleged that investments in his "Unholey Bagel" company were being used to prop up his sports operation.

The letter announcing the formation of the new IPBL said the new leadership was "made up of participants from the ’07 season, all of whom have a uniquely inside view of what happened and will make sure that it does not happen again."

The accusations within the Rosen toy case are not connected directly with the baseball league, unless one counts dead and seriously injured kids as potential fans, and the spectre of little victims has already stirred up taunts of "blood money" from opponents to the "new leadership"-- just the tip of another ugly and angry battle being waged largely by anonymous commenters on the Tabloid Baby site, which has become the forum for debate and information surrounding the dream of professional baseball in Israel.

The editors of Tabloid Baby have, in fact, nominated Our Man Elli in Israel to be commissioner of the new league.


This is reality. said...

Bullshit lets play ball, Men. You are freakin dreaming Gardner.

Your group have tried to choke the IBL to make your own league. Not sure why commenters all do not process that the court cs against Larry is in large part because the person filing suit feels that he used his company offices and the like to support the IBL, and he spent his time 24/7 doing it, and he should have told her he had planned to do it when she became an investor earlier. Not really what I would call a selfish act of irrevocable evil if true. Maybe it is true,maybe it is not. He tried as hard as can be even if it did not yield all fulfilled promises. There was a lot of joy and a lot of reality. Who among us could ever come close to doing better from scratch. Unpaid debts have a lot to do with the the type of uphill garbage piled on the league by this website and certainly this group of investors and insiders.
It is a sad thing that this has happened. Larry Baras and those who have stuck by him deserve something better rather than such battling from within. This story about Rosen shows how low and far certain crud will go. Even after they have 100 million or so.

Anonymous said...

It is not just promises that werent kept. It is also contracts to players and coaches. As players we had to organize together and almost strike not once but twice. The first time, the former Commish (Kurtzer) threatened to cancel the season if we chose to strike. He then claimed to not have said so.

On the second occasion, which was the last week of the season right before the playoffs, Larry Baras himself came and spoke to a group of players. Most of the players there were the Hispanic players who threatened not to play w/o being paid before the playoffs in fear of not getting paid our last paycheck. For a large group of us, it was the case. So dont just give the credit to L. Baras, give the players, coaches and staff their due credit because we put up w/a lot of crap in order to make the league succeed.

"This is Reality" you dont realize that the reality is taht a lot of players were fresh out of college w/o jobs or in different countries and their families or they depended on that money. Would you speak well of your former employer if they failed to pay after three months? Hell would you speak well of them if they paid you a week late? It is exactly three months since the last pitch was thrown and we have yet to be paid in full. Would you have gone to work if your employer told you that you might not be paid when you are supposed to? Well we did.

Anonymous said...

have any of you notticed , no more write ups or scoops about rosen, hmmmm, i wonder why?
because rosen's last name does not sound like baras.

Anonymous said...

the reason why there are no comments about rosen is becuase the people who are writing into this blog criticizing are the same ones who are in bed with rosen trying to make another league. so they are not going to prolong this thread. right, gardner? RIght ellie? Bare snakes. ride in and save israel with your own league. after you try to destroy a great thing and person for your own personal interest. why else would you relentlessly kick a person? it is personal with you guys. rollhaus you are a big mouthed idiot. you have shared your strategy too many times. you have no idea how you are perceived you guys. idiots who are overextended intellectually and certaibly morally.