Kovacevic: Mayor pledges ‘civic morality’ on Pirates


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Bill Peduto. - WPXI

Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh's mayor, reached out to me Monday night via Twitter regarding the column I published here earlier in the day about forcing the Pirates to become accountable to an increasingly angry, distrusting public.

His initial reply focused, as did a lot of the general reaction, on my section challenging public officials, including him, to challenge Bob Nutting on the team's finances, the most consistent source of skepticism.

The full tweet:

I responded with this:

And after a spell, this was the end of the public exchange:

My appreciation was genuine. The mayor of a big city has a busy regular workday, and all of this came after-hours. Peduto's always been highly accessible, and that certainly can't be spoken of all politicians, not least all the others cited in the column who didn't pipe up.

He and I also had an extended text exchange independent of this, for fullest possible disclosure, but that'll obviously stay where it was.

Three quick things to add:

• I'm not nearly as certain as the mayor that the city's Sports & Exhibition Authority is without rights regarding the Pirates' finances. This was brought to my attention by two independent legal experts, Section 4.3.3 of the team's lease: “All financial records of the Team shall be open to inspection and audit of the Authority and its representatives or agents during the lease term and for a period of three years thereafter, which inspection shall occur at the team's office, following reasonable notice.”

This is the full lease, provided by the mayor's office.

I'm no expert, but I'm not seeing a single syllable in that language that suggests the SEA can't look at the Pirates' books. Nor do I see, anywhere in the lease, how the team could refuse.

• As I responded to the mayor above, though it seems to have been largely overlooked in the reaction to the column, what happened in Milwaukee wasn't about the government cornering the Brewers. It was about the business community, via the chamber of commerce there, putting their weight behind a plea to see the team's finances, followed up by 50 Wisconsin legislators signing on. The private sector, as tends to occur, led the way.

Also, what wound up happening in Milwaukee was mostly amicable. The Brewers agreed to open their books to a select, trusted committee, and that committee relayed its observations.

There's a reason I've been using that as an example. It's not necessarily about some McCarthy-esque inquiry. It's about smart people working together toward the same goal in reestablishing some semblance of trust between the Pirates and everyone else.

• Something odd is up at 115 Federal, and I can't quite figure it out.

Every indication remains that Nutting's far from done with the firings. And no, I can't reconcile that, either, with the statement he issued: "I strongly believe that Neal Huntington and the leadership team that he has assembled are the right people to continue to lead our baseball operations department.”

But remember where you read it. There's more to come on that front.

And no, I don't just mean the obvious ones like Ray Searage, coaches and so forth. Much bigger.

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