Judge requests information from owner of MLB’s Astros in Jefferson County bond settlement

Posted on Jan 23, 2012 By Bond & Botes, PC

The consequences of the bankruptcy case of Jefferson County, the largest such case in U. S. history, have extended well beyond Alabama’s borders. A judge has ordered Jim Crane, now owner of Major League Baseball’s Houston Astros, to furnish the court with certain details of his settlement with J. P. Morgan Chase.

According to Wall Street Journal, Crane had purchased $35 million worth of bonds from Jefferson County in 2008. The bonds were auctioned off by Jefferson County in order to raise funds for its sewer system.

As the purchase was a personal investment, public disclosure of the details are not required. Crane filed his lawsuit two years ago, claiming that J. P. Morgan did not reveal its illicit dealings with Jefferson County officials.

But the details of Crane’s lawsuit appear to have a direct bearing on the county’s massive debt problem, which, it claims, is the result of shady dealing and high-level corruption involving J. P. Morgan and local officials. Several of those officials have been imprisoned for bribery, and J. P. Morgan agreed to a $772 million settlement with the SEC. The settlement did not include any admission of guilt on the part of the bank.

The bond purchase and subsequent lawsuit took place prior to Crane’s assumption of ownership of the Astros last year.

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