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Padres Say Garvey Was Treated Fairly in His Effort to Purchase Ballclub

March 31, 1987|TOM FRIEND | Times Staff Writer

PALM SPRINGS — The attorney for Padre owner Joan Kroc--Beth Benes--claimed Monday that Padre first baseman Steve Garvey was treated fairly in his effort to buy the Padres this winter.

Garvey said recently that he had put together a group of investors worth close to $1 billion, but the Padres wouldn't give him access to their books.

But Benes denied his story Monday.

"We had set up a process of qualifications for prospective owners," she said. "And it involved us getting certain financial information. Steve called me about 10 days before the sale to Mr. (George) Argyros (which was consummated last Wednesday) and told me he had a group of people who were interested in purchasing the ballclub. I told him it was probably too late, but if he gave me the information, I'd be happy to move forward with it.

"I also asked him if he would be an owner, and he said no, that he was acting as a middle man. Nobody got in to see our books until they qualified (financially). Nobody. His people were given the same treatment as anyone else."

But Garvey said Monday that he had a friend--attorney Alan Rothenberg, president of the NBA Los Angeles Clippers--call Benes in January and that Benes never gave Rothenberg the guidelines to buy the team.

"We tried to call Beth Benes several times through Alan Rothenberg as our representative," Garvey said. "And, unfortunately, we didn't get to the position of being told the steps (of how to buy the team) until early March. Alan, we thought he'd be the best person to proceed with this because of his experience and because he's been an owner. The only frustration is that we didn't get the opportunity to begin a real dialogue (regarding how to buy the team) as early as January."

Benes admits she spoke with Rothenberg, but said she didn't know he was calling for Garvey. She also claims she told Rothenberg the guidelines.

"As far as I know, he (Rothenberg) wasn't calling about the people that Steve brought up," Benes said. "Rothenberg never gave me names, and I did give him the guidelines."

Kroc was unavailable for comment Monday.

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