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President Obama has a lot on his plate at the start of his second term. With deficit reduction, gun control, and immigration reform legislation on his agenda, Obama has been requested to do something about one of South Florida's most notorious sports figures: Jeffrey Loria.
"Please force Marlins owner Jeff Loria to sell," a petition at whitehouse.gov reads. "He has lied to the people of Miami and used tax funded money." The petition was created on Tuesday.
The petitioners are exercising their First Amendment rights to petition the federal government, though the Constitutionality of the president forcing Jeffrey Loria to sell the Marlins is questionable at best.
"Please help force Marlins owner Jeff Loria to sell the team," the petition continues. "He has lied to the people of Miami to get tax funded dollars to build a stadium and promised to put a team on the field with a payroll avg. The Payroll for the Marlins is about 35 million [sic] when it was around 90 last year. He has traded every player away with a high salary after just signing to long term deals last off season."
In 2012, the Marlins opened Marlins Park to significant fanfare and a hugely revamped roster. But after the team disappointed (finishing 69-93), the team engaged in a massive fire sale, trading away players with salary obligations of a combined $154 million.
The team is not expected to compete for a playoff spot until 2014 at the earliest, but will continue to play in a stadium for which state and local governments provided hundreds of millions of dollars in financing.
The petition has not exactly caught fire. As of Wednesday morning, only nine people had signed the petition. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by Feb. 21 to elicit an official response from the White House.
The petitioners are not the only people coming down hard on Loria this week. The Miami Dolphins have also blasted the Marlins, in an attempt to secure public funds for renovations of Sun Life Stadium. "Just because the Marlins did a bad deal doesn’t mean we should oppose a good deal where at least a majority of the cost is paid from private sources and more than 4,000 local jobs are created during construction alone," the Dolphins said in a media fact sheet this week.