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Small business group sues MLB Commissioner over moving All-Star game from Atlanta

Job Creators Network alleged MLB violated the rights of businesses in Atlanta area, demands game be returned this summer.

Updated: June 3, 2021 - 10:28am

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A small business group on Monday evening sued Major League Baseball, its commissioner Rob Manfred and the head of professional baseball players union Tony Clark alleging their efforts to move this summer's All-Star game from Atlanta to protest Georgia's new election integrity law unlawfully inflicted "staggering" damages on businesses in the region.

The suit filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by the Job Creators Network alleges MLB violated the Klu Klux Klan Act of 1871 and committed "tortious interference" in business by canceling the game over a political matter.

It seeks damages of at least $100 million for the businesses of Atlanta as well as an order to restore the game this summer to the Atlanta Braves home stadium, Truist Park.

"MLB Defendants intended to punish Georgians because their state enacted a reasonable ballot-integrity statute and to coerce Georgia and its duly elected government to surrender Georgia’s sovereignty in our federal system," the lawsuit charged.

It said the true victims were small businesses who spent money and made plans for two years to host the All-Star Game based on MLB's promise, only to see it canceled.

"Thousands of hard-working ordinary men and women in the Atlanta area, many reeling from the psychological trauma and economic havoc of the COVID-19 pandemic, relied on MLB’s unqualified promise to hold the 2021 All-Star Game in Truist Park," the suit said. "They were looking forward to the beginning of a return to normalcy, with the country opening up and the All-Star Game coming to town. For 21 months, from July 2019 through March 2021, these men and women planned and budgeted and invested and hoped for a wonderful and profitable event.

"The damages resulting from the cancellation of the AllStar Game in Atlanta are staggering," the suit added. "More than 8,000 hotel reservations were canceled; revenues from ticket sales and stadium food by the more than 41,000 expected to attend the events at Truist Park were lost."

You can read the full complaint here.

The suit seeks to force MLB to "immediately restore the 2021 Game to Truist Park in Atlanta, together with all pre-game events" and to face a jury trial for damages.

Job Creators Network is a not-for-profit group that advocates on behalf of America's 30 million small businesses and played an essential role in winning congressional approval for the 2017 tax cuts.

A spokesman for MLB was not immediately available for comment.