Former Orioles owner Jerold C. Hoffberger said Friday he has joined the ranks of those trying to purchase the team.
Orioles owner Edward Bennett Williams has not said he is willing to sell, but four months ago, he reportedly reversed a long-standing policy and began entertaining offers for the team."I worked on this all day yesterday," said Hoffberger Friday, who sold the club to Williams for $12 million in 1979, "and I am very serious about it."
Hoffberger said that he has spoken with Williams about buying back the Orioles.
Williams has refused at least two offers of more than $60 million from investors. In addition, Florida real estate developer Ronald Dowdy was scheduled to meet with Williams Friday in Washington, according to The (Baltimore) Evening Sun.
The Sun said Williams had turned down two offers and quoted unnamed sources familiar with Williams' discussions with prospective buyers.
Williams' decision to refuse the offers could reflect his desire to wait for better offers or his attempts, through negotiation, to set the team's true market value without selling, both The Sun and The Evening Sun speculated.
One of the $60 million-plus offers came from a group whose members include several local corporations, according to sources in the Baltimore business community who said some investors were United States Fidelity & Guaranty Corp., Monumental Corp. and Constellation Properties Inc., a subsidiary of Baltimore Gas & Electric Co.
Hoffberger said he was not affiliated with that group.
A third local group interested in buying the team is reportedly headed by Mark Vogel, a real estate developer from Prince George's County who owns all three Maryland harness racing tracks, The Evening Sun said.
Williams, who suffers from cancer, is said to be willing to discuss a sale of the team for a number of reasons, including the Orioles' poor record and the owner's poor health.