Senator, part-owner of Cleveland Indians says political opponent never made $1 billion offer to buy team

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(WJW) – There’s a back and forth controversy between two candidates vying to replace Ohio Senator Rob Portman. 

One candidate says he offered to pay $1 billion to keep the Cleveland Indians’ name, but the current owner says the conversation never happened.

“There’s a process that you go through and there’s a lot of questions you can ask Bernie about our process and see if he actually went through it,” said Republican state senator and part-Indians owner Matt Dolan.

Family team owner Dolan is disputing claims by his political opponent Bernie Moreno that he offered to buy the Cleveland Indians for $1 billion. 

Both are running as Republicans to replace Senator Rob Portman in next year’s election.

Last week, longtime car dealership owner Moreno told FOX 8 that he made an offer to keep the Indians from changing their name to the Guardians.

“I had an idea if you could buy the team and we could also issue a digital currency that we’d call the Tribecoin, that would let people in Northeast Ohio own a part of the team, so 49% of the price was going to be a digital currency that would anchor the team in Northeast Ohio and so every fan could own a piece of the team,” said Moreno.

But Monday, Dolan told FOX 8 News Anchor Joe Toohey that the conversation never happened.

“It’s not true, so I don’t know why Bernie would decide to say that,” Dolan said. “You’re going have to talk to Bernie as to why he thinks he made an offer.”

FOX 8 reached out to the Moreno’s campaign, which says he is travelling, but did release a statement which read in part:

“I talked with the Dolan family to buy the Indians, keep their name and build a winning team.

“If the Dolans changed on either the 100% buyout or change in name, then we will come back to the table. I’d like nothing more than to save the Indians.”

Dolan and Moreno are among several candidates vying for the soon-to-be open Ohio Senate seat. Moreno tells FOX 8 all negotiations about selling the Indians were turned down.

“We would use part of the ticket sales to honor and support Native American causes in Ohio and honor Native American heroes throughout the stadium and really make it a name of honor that the name is called Cleveland Indians and not one in any way that would be disrespectful,” said Moreno.

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