Commissioner put own money toward team

Updated: November 16, 2003, 3:03 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Over the past five or six years, baseball commissioner Bud Selig has committed approximately $13.2 million of his own money to the Milwaukee Brewers, a top baseball official said Friday.

According to a report in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Bob DuPuy, baseball's president and chief operating officer, confirmed the specific amount of Selig's contributions for the first time.

Selig holds a 30 percent share of the team, which represents 13.2 million, DuPuy told the paper.

Brewers executives had said earlier this week that investors in the team had committed $44 million over the past five or six years, but did not name the investors at that time.

Selig's share in the team was placed in a trust in 1998, when he became commissioner on a full-time basis, after six years in an interim role, according to the newspaper's report.

Selig, who had been president of the Brewers since bringing the team to Milwaukee in 1970, had no involvement with the operations of the club and was careful to avoid contact with the team, DuPuy said.

"In my opinion and the opinion of the clubs, I think Bud has been scrupulous in avoiding any appearance of either favoring or being involved with the operation of the Brewers," DuPuy said. "He has not had involvement in the operation of the club, pure and simple. The only thing that he has a right to be consulted on is putting up money. He has a right to say he'll invest or not invest when they make capital calls."

While DuPuy commented on Selig's contributions to the team, the Brewers and lawyers for team president Ulice Payne Jr. were in negotiations for a compensation package for Payne to leave the club. Payne, who became president and chief executive officer in September 2002, has come under fire in the past week for his public criticisms of the team's plan to cut player payroll in 2004.

Payne, in the second year of a five-year guaranteed contract with the team, is seeking full compensation for the remaining years of the deal, plus scheduled raises, for a total of at least $2 million, according to the paper's report.

DuPuy confirmed the statements of some Brewers board members that Payne had approved the payroll for 2004, despite his concerns.

"Ulice was the person who presented the business plan, who defended the business plan," DuPuy said, refering to last summer's meeting of 16 major-league teams in New York in which teams showed details of their financial forecast through 2005. "It all happened between June and Aug. 1. The plan contained the budget numbers that have been talked about the past couple of weeks."