Jacobs claims libel in suing Warfield's

September 07, 1991|By Michael Dresser

Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs has filed a $36 million libel suit over a Warfield's magazine article entitled "Eli's Debt Empire."

The Aug. 7 cover story on the financial condition of Mr. Jacobs' network of businesses, "is replete with false, inaccurate and misleading statements," according to the suit, which was filed in Baltimore Circuit Court Aug. 30.

Eric Garland, the writer, and Edwin Warfield IV, publisher of the Baltimore-based business magazine, are named as defendants.

Neither Mr. Garland nor Mr. Warfield could be reached for comment yesterday, and Warfield's lawyer, Theodore Sherbow, was out of the country.

Mr. Jacobs' lawyer, William J. Murphy (who is not related to the former Baltimore mayoral candidate of the same name), declined to comment, saying, "The lawsuit speaks for itself."

Mr. Jacobs could not be reached for comment.

The Warfield's article, as cited in court papers, said Mr. Jacobs, who bought a controlling interest in the Orioles two years ago for $70 million, "appears to be in a severe cash bind" as a result of the well-publicized troubles of several businesses he acquired in leveraged buyouts.

According to the suit, the article says Mr. Jacobs' "empire has been built on rickety foundations" and that "the value of his equity is debatable." The lawsuit says both assertions are inaccurate.

According to the suit, the defendants published false statements "knowing that their depiction of the plaintiff was untrue, or acted with reckless disregard as to the truth of these statements."

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