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Naimoli: buyout statement false

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 21, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Is the Rays' ownership group about to undergo a change as well?

Amid similar rumors circulating in the Tampa Bay business community, noted baseball columnist Tracy Ringolsby reports that some of the team's minority partners are trying to unseat managing general partner Vince Naimoli.

Ringolsby wrote that John Hart, who has resigned as general manager in Cleveland, may be interested in coming to the Rays because of a rich farm system and proximity to his Orlando-area home.

"And," Ringolsby wrote, "he is close friends with members of the minority ownership, which in response to managing general partner Vince Naimoli's recent cash call has begun a movement to buy out Naimoli."

Naimoli, through spokesman Rick Vaughn, said that was not the case: "It is simply not a truthful statement."

ESPN's Peter Gammons had a similar report last week.

When contacted by the Times recently, minority partners declined comment on the situation.

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