Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass has joined local attorney Pete Angelos in his bid to purchase the Orioles -- a move that both men said strengthens the chances of the team having local ownership.
In what could become one of the most colorful owners' boxes in sports, the group of local investors also includes best-selling author Tom Clancy, who joined Mr. Angelos three weeks ago. Moviemaker Barry Levinson also has signed up with the group, Mr. Weinglass said last night.
The additions to the Angelos group come as a New York bankruptcy judge appears ready to begin evaluating offers for ,, the team, including one from Cincinnati investors who have been negotiating for more than eight months with Orioles owner Eli S. Jacobs.
But Mr. Angelos said he believes his investors will get the team.
"It seems to me that this is an irresistible group for owning a ballclub: Local investors and a cross section of people and professions, self-made people, each a credit to the community," said Mr. Angelos in an interview last night from the Maryland Stadium Authority skybox at Camden Yards, where he was joined by Mr. Clancy and Mr. Weinglass.
Mr. Weinglass, who is heading a group trying to buy a National Football League franchise for Baltimore, said the NFL effort will continue. He said he would divest his interest in the baseball team if that is necessary to acquire a football team.
"I want football. But what if football doesn't come through? Then I'm left out," Mr. Weinglass said.
Mr. Clancy gave up a rival bid for an NFL team this week.
Mr. Angelos, a one-time Baltimore city councilman and former mayoral candidate, said he expects to receive all the financial information on the team he needs by the end of the week and could have a formal offer prepared in a few weeks.
Others may join the group, which also includes local contractor Henry Knott Sr., but Mr. Angelos will be the controlling partner, or, as he put it, a "consensus seeker."
Mr. Jacobs, a New York financier, agreed to sell the team to a group of investors headed by Cincinnati businessman and Texas Rangers part-owner William O. DeWitt Jr. That deal is worth about $140 million.
But when Mr. Jacobs entered personal bankruptcy last month, it opened up the possibility that other bids may be considered by his creditors and the bankruptcy judge.
At least three groups, including Mr. Angelos', have come forward to challenge the offer from Mr. DeWitt and other investors.
A New York art dealer, Jeffrey H. Loria, also has said he is interested in buying the Orioles. A group headed by brothers Douglas, Marvin, Stephen and Lawrence Jemal, owners of Nobody Beats the Wiz, a New Jersey-based chain of electronics and recorded music stores, also is considering a bid.
Mr. Clancy said, "If my information is correct, we are in much better financial shape than the people from Cincinnati."
Reached by phone in Cincinnati last night, Mr. DeWitt said, "I've never commented on competing groups." As for his bid, he said, "I think things are progressing well, and we're hopeful we will be able to complete it."
Mr. Angelos said he was interested in expanding the group to include more prominent people with local roots. About three weeks ago, Mr. Weinglass called him and the two followed up with a meal a few days ago at Sabatino's in Little Italy, where
they shook hands on the deal, he said.
Mr. Weinglass and Mr. Clancy said they both were approached by Mr. DeWitt about joining his partnership but declined.
Mr. Weinglass said the fact Mr. Jacobs is in bankruptcy has opened the door to more bids.
"A bankruptcy judge is going to listen to the best offer," he said.
Several of Mr. Weinglass' football investors have joined him in his bid for the Orioles: Mr. Levinson, real estate investor Richard Pearlstone and Merry-Go-Round Enterprises president Michael Sullivan. The Baltimore-born Weinglass, who lives in Aspen, Colo., is chairman and founder of Merry-Go-Round, a chain of clothing stores based in Joppa.
Mr. Weinglass said E. Douglas Carton, founder of C-Mart Discount Warehouse in Forest Hill, Md., and a member of Mr. Weinglass' football group, may also join.
He said that he was told that NFL officials might discourage him from owning parts of both teams, but that if his share of the Orioles is small enough it might be permitted.
In fact, Mr. Angelos has committed to become an investor in Mr. Weinglass' group if it wins a football team, said Mr. Weinglass.