Wolves minority owner says there's no provision to keep team in Minnesota in lawsuit over A-Rod sale

Glen Taylor, owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves passes a ball before the game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs on November 15, 2017 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Hannah Foslien / Getty Images)

In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday, a minority owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves says majority owner Glen Taylor is ignoring a partnership agreement as he prepares to sell the team, while adding that despite claims from Taylor, there is no provision to keep the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

The complaint brought by Orbit Sports, owned by Meyer Orbach, states that when Taylor announced he was selling his majority share of the team to former Walmart executive Marc Lore and former baseball star Alex Rodriguez, Orbach's attorneys say he attempted to exercise his tag-along rights – which would give Orbach the opportunity to sell his stake in the team to the new ownership group.

However, the lawsuit claims Taylor said the deal is not structured as a "control sale" but rather any transfer of control would be done "years in the future" – meaning Orbach would have to wait to collect on his ownership stake.

In the lawsuit, Orbach's company claims Taylor's agreement with Rodriguez and Lore is structured to circumvent Orbach's tag-along rights. Orbach claims that he is still entitled to sell his ownership share regardless of when the sale is executed – adding that if the new owners fail to take on his stake in the team, Taylor is on the hook to pay for Orbach's share.

"Taylor should not be permitted to leap ahead of his partners and pocket substantial proceeds from his deal with Rodriguez and Lore while his partners are made to wait for up to several years to be paid for their interests," argue Orbach's attorneys in the lawsuit. 

Along with that grievance, Orbach claims that the agreement between Taylor and Rodriguez and Lore differs from what Taylor has claimed in public. Chiefly, there is no provision that would keep the team in Minnesota.

The lawsuit points to a radio interview Taylor gave to WCCO-AM 830, in which Taylor said there is language in the contract to keep the Timberwolves in town. Orbach says that's not true: "The truth is that Taylor’s agreement with Rodriguez and Lore does not, in fact, require them to keep the Timberwolves in Minnesota," Orbach's attorney's claim.

Orbach is asking to court to issue a declaration that the deal to Rodrigues and Lore would constitute a "control sale" thus triggering Orbach's tag-along rights.

In a statement issued Thursday morning, Taylor said he is aware of the filed litigation, but will not comment on pending legal matters. However, he said, "I stand by my prior statements and commitment to keeping the Timberwolves and Lynx in Minnesota."