Update on Diamond Jaxx Talks

Despite a premature report in Thursday's <I>Jackson Sun</I>, the city of Jackson, Tenn., and the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx have agreed to extend an initial March 13 deadline for the city to exercise its right of first refusal to purchase the club from owner Robert Lozinak of Lozinak Baseball Properties, LLC. The new deadline is set for midnight March 21.

Earlier this week, a spokeswoman with Jackson Mayor Charles Farmer's office told Inside The Ivy that progress had been made in Wednesday's city council meeting to secure investment to purchase the team from Lozinak for the sum of $11,347,500, and that the two sides had agreed to a one-week extension through March 20 with a new council meeting scheduled for the 18th. The Sun retracted its original report, confirming the new deadline and council meeting in its Friday edition.

"We gave (the city) a week's extension so as not to hold their feet to the fire," Diamond Jaxx General Manager Jeff Parker said Friday. "I don't know what their plans are, but it's highly unlikely the city would buy the team itself."

If the city were to secure a designee to purchase the team, the Jaxx would remain in Jackson for the present time. If it cannot, the club's owners are free to seek relocation without penalty. A bid to move the Jaxx to Mauldin, S.C. was rejected by Minor League Baseball in February.

"It's an interesting price," explained Parker. "The price is calculated on the last two sales of Double-A franchises across the board, so that's where the $11 million comes from. We'll see what happens."

The Lozinak's purchased the Jaxx in October 2002 from former owner David Kersh and have reported losses of over $1 million in the last two years—$485,555 in 2004, and $598,078 in '03. In the owners' lease with the city, losses of $150,000 or more grants the team permission to relocate. But the contract first allows the city to either purchase the club directly or secure outside investors to make purchase.

"If we had only lost $150,000, I'm sure we wouldn't be talking about this," said Parker.

Parker is the former head of player development with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and has been general manager of the Jaxx since the Lozinak's purchased the team in ‘02. He owns a small percentage of the team but is not a major shareholder.

The Diamond Jaxx will kick off their 2005 season April 7 at Pringles Park against Chattanooga.


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