Report: Jeter-owned Marlins claim citizenship in British Virgin Islands

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Major League Baseball appears to have its first team in the Caribbean - that is, from a legal standpoint.

According to Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald, Miami Marlins co-owners Derek Jeter and Bruce Sherman are claiming the team is a corporate citizen of the British Virgin Islands by virtue of its corporate identity, Marlins Teamco.

The Marlins are claiming British Virgin Islands residency under the Marlins Teamco name in an attempt to avoid a profit-sharing lawsuit that was brought against them and former owner Jeffrey Loria by Miami-Dade County in February.

Related: Miami-Dade County suing Marlins, Loria ownership over profit sharing

Because they're officially based in the Caribbean, the team is arguing it shouldn't head to court in Miami and international law should apply. They also want a federal arbitrator to take on the case rather than go to court in Miami-Dade, Hanks reports.

"One of the members of Marlins Teamco is a corporation incorporated in the British Virgin Islands with its principal place of business in the British Virgin Islands," the Marlins wrote in a March court filing obtained by Hanks. "Accordingly, Marlins Teamco is a citizen of the British Virgin Islands."

The county isn't buying that reasoning, though, and wrote a strong rebuttal to counter the Marlins' claims while demanding the case be resolved in Miami-Dade County under United States law.

"This is the most local of disputes, involving a locally-negotiated contract made between local parties under local law and requiring local performance," county lawyers wrote. "If even one of the Jeter Marlins' members is a United States citizen, then the Jeter Marlins is a United States citizen."

Marlins Teamco was established by Jeter and Sherman as the team's corporate arm when they purchased the franchise from Loria for $1.2 billion last October. But the county filed suit against both the current and former owners of the Marlins after Loria refused to share a portion of the sale that Miami-Dade says was previously agreed to.

The Marlins received large amounts of negative publicity after the ownership change when they traded away several stars - including reigning NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton - to drastically decrease payroll. Attendance has fallen during the early stages of 2018, with the Marlins drawing just 7,003 fans on Monday night. It was the lowest attendance in Marlins Park history - breaking the previous record, which was set last week.

Report: Jeter-owned Marlins claim citizenship in British Virgin Islands
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