ATLANTA — A small business advocacy group is suing Major League Baseball for moving next month’s All-Star Game out of Georgia.
In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in New York, Job Creators Network is seeking either an immediate return of the game to Truist Park in Cobb County or the payment of $100 million in damages to local and Georgia-based small businesses.
Major League Baseball moved the All-Star Game to Denver in response to passage of controversial legislation by the General Assembly last March putting new restrictions on the voting process in Georgia.
The law replaces the signature-match verification process for absentee ballots with an ID requirement. It also restricts the location of drop boxes and prohibits non-poll workers from handing out food and drinks within 150 feet of voters standing in line.
Critics say the law will disproportionately affect minorities and low-income Georgians. Supporters say it will restore public trust in elections.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta – many of them minority-owned – of $100 million,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network. “This is a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law.”
While the $100 million projected economic impact of losing the game has come into question as potentially overblown, the plaintiffs say previous All-Star games have generated $37 million to $190 million for their host communities.
Besides losing revenue from ticket sales and concessions, more than 8,000 hotel room reservations were canceled.
“Small businesses in this community had valid contracts relating to the All-Star Game and other events, the result of two years of planning,” Ortiz said. “All of that was ripped away by fear and misinformation spewed by political activists.”
Ortiz said Colorado and many other states have more restricting voting laws than Georgia.