COBB COUNTY, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — A hearing date for the multi-million dollar lawsuit against Major League Baseball and its decision to pull the All-Star Game from Atlanta is set in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on June 10, 2021.

Job Creators Network’s (JCN), suit demands the immediate return of the All-Star Game to Atlanta or payment by the defendants of $100 million in damages to local and state small businesses – many of which are minority-owned and still recovering from Covid-19 losses. The defendants are MLB, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred and the Players Association, and Executive Director Tony Clark.

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JCN, a small business advocacy group, filed a lawsuit demanding MLB bring the game back to Atlanta or pay $100 million dollars in damages to small businesses around the state. Officials say more than 8,000 hotel reservations were cancelled, and along with losing more than 41,000 expected fans, the area also lost revenues from ticket sales, concessions and events. Data shows Black-owned businesses are largely impacted.

Just before the pandemic, Chef Jimmy Carey brought Jimmy’z Kitchen and his specialized American-Latin cuisine to Cobb County, where there’s lots of business. “The Weather Channel, you got Home Depot, and the big one, which is The Battery,” said Carey.

The Battery Atlanta outside Truist Park is where baseball fans were hoping to catch the All-Star Game on the big screen this summer, if they didn’t have tickets to watch the game inside the stadium. Then, MLB moved the game to Denver, in response to Georgia’s controversial voting legislation that sparked national outrage. “We were looking forward to all the business we would have gotten from the hotels, people staying in the area, the overflow from The Battery,” Carey said. “We were counting on that kind of business, and now, it was just basically taken away from our noses.” Countless other restaurants and businesses have expressed disappointment over the move.

“I can imagine those businesses in The Battery that have gone through the same situation through COVID, closing down restaurants and laying off people,” said Carey. “It’s been a rough, very rough year.”

“JCN and its allies are looking forward to next week’s hearing and successfully resolving this case to the satisfaction of the Greater Atlanta community,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network in a statement. “After a year of enduring a pandemic induced recession, Atlanta metro small businesses were looking forward to the All-Star Game to help springboard their full recovery.  Unfortunately, the MLB gave in to the cancel culture.  MLB thought it could bend the knee and escape any consequences. They were mistaken.  JCN will hold them accountable and defend the small businesses who were harmed.  We have a strong case, and we expect to eventually win.” 

Carey and other restaurant owners have questions about how far the lawsuit will go. They have indicated they certainly wouldn’t mind the MLB changing it’s course, so to speak, and bringing the game back to the Atlanta area. “That would be a beautiful thing to see,” he said.

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Cobb County issued the following statement, “Cobb County is not a participant in the recent U.S. District Court filing regarding Major League Baseball’s relocation of the 2021 All-Star Game, nor is the county listed as a party in the legal action.”

The county also provided this statement from Chairwoman Lisa Cupid, “It will be up to the courts to determine if there is a legal harm that could require such a remedy.  Despite the controversy, I hope MLB leadership recognizes that Cobb County remains an attractive place for business and recreation that also boasts strong diversity in its general population and elected leadership.”

The Atlanta Braves organization declined to comment beyond this statement made in April, when MLB first announced the move:

The Atlanta Braves are deeply disappointed by the decision of Major League Baseball to move its’ 2021 All-Star Game.

This was neither our decision, nor our recommendation and we are saddened that fans will not be able to see this event in our city.  The Braves organization will continue to stress the importance of equal voting opportunities and we had hoped our city could use this event as a platform to enhance the discussion.  Our city has always been known as a uniter in divided times and we will miss the opportunity to address issues that are important to our community.

Unfortunately, businesses, employees, and fans in Georgia are the victims of this decision.

We will continue to support the community legacy projects which have been planned and are in process.

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JCN filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on May 31, 2021. MLB has not responded to CW69’s request for comment.