Sports | June 2, 2021 10:39 am

MLB Sued for $1.1 Billion by Home Depot Co-Founder’s Nonprofit for Moving All-Star Game

MLB pulled the game from Atlanta due to a voting law that disproportionately targets Black voters

A view of Truist Park in Atlanta
A view of Truist Park in Atlanta, the home of the Braves.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty

A group backed by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcu has hit Major League Baseball with a $1.1-billion lawsuit over MLB’s decision in early April to pull this year’s All-Star Game out of Atlanta due to a Donald Trump-backed voting law that disproportionately targets Black voters.

In a lawsuit filed Monday against MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association, the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit The Job Creators Network (a conservative small business advocacy group) is demanding an injunction to “immediately restore the 2021 Game to Truist Park in Atlanta.” In addition to the injunction, the suit seeks a jury award of at least $100 million in compensatory damages to local businesses and an additional $1 billion in punitive damages, according to Sportico.

Though the game was supposed to be in Atlanta, the JCN, which previously protested the ASG move with a billboard in Times Square and a small demonstration outside MLB headquarters, filed the federal complaint in the Southern District of New York. Howard Kleinhendler, a New York attorney who did legal work on behalf of Trump supporters’ efforts to challenge the results of 2020 presidential election, filed the lawsuit on behalf of the JCN.

Held in 2000, the most recent All-Star Game in Atlanta brought $48 million to the region, according to Front Office Sports. At the heart of the suit filed by the JCN, which advocates against the government “getting in the way of the economic freedom that helped make this country prosperous,” are the potential losses incurred by Atlanta businesses thanks to MLB’s decision.

“Businesses from mom-and-pop restaurants and bars to national hotel chains prepare years and months in advance for the event,” according to the complaint. “Tables are reserved, hotel rooms are booked, events are planned, people are hired.”

Following the call to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta, the Midsummer Classic was awarded to Coors Field in Denver. In a Morning Consult poll conducted at the time, 39% of U.S. adults said they supported MLB’s decision to move the game out of Atlanta, while 28% opposed the move. 

“Interestingly, while only 9% of Democrats opposed MLB’s decision to move its events out of Atlanta, 23% of Democrats expressed support for Georgia’s voting law,” according to Morning Consult. “In general, fewer respondents formed opinions about the All-Star Game and draft than the law, in part because the share of individuals who had seen, read or heard about MLB’s moves at the time of the survey was slightly smaller than the share that had heard about the Georgia law in general.”