Syracuse, N.Y. — More than 900 Syracuse Chiefs shareholders whose “abandoned” stock was given to the state will get it back in time to cash in – to the tune of $2.1 million – on the Minor League baseball team’s sale to the New York Mets.
The state Comptroller’s Office said 903 claims representing 1,745 shares in the team were received and verified by the comptroller’s Office of Unclaimed Funds by Thursday’s deadline.
Under an agreement between the Chiefs and the Comptroller’s Office, the shares will be reissued, making the owners eligible to receive approximately $1,208 a share when the sale to the Mets occurs later this month. In total, the shares being reissued are worth approximately $2.1 million to their owners.
Under the state’s Abandoned Property Law, the team in 2015 and 2016 deemed the shares held by approximately 2,400 of its 4,000 shareholders to be abandoned because the owners had died, or they had moved and did not let the team know their new address. The “abandoned” stock – more than 5,000 shares, or about a third of the team’s outstanding shares at the time – was given to the Office of Unclaimed Funds.
The state sold the stock back to the team for $19 a share, its appraised value in 2015 when the team was losing money.
Ordinarily, shareholders who came forward to reclaim their “abandoned” shares would have only received $19 from the state for each share and leaving them unable to benefit from the team’s sale to the Mets for $18 million. But a provision in the team’s stock buyback agreement with the state required the Chiefs to reissue the “abandoned” shares of those who filed claims to get their stock back.
Chiefs General Manager Jason Smorol said the team has been sending new stock certificates to verified claimants for the past few weeks.
The team has said it expects the sale to the Mets to occur no later than Dec. 15. Soon afterward, shareholders will receive a letter starting the team’s process of collecting their stock certificates and disbursing the proceeds of the sale, Smorol said.
He said the merger may be completed before the team’s Hot Stove Dinner Dec. 8 at the Oncenter. Former Mets stars Mookie Wilson, Edgardo Alfonzo, Tim Teufel and Ron Darling are scheduled to attend the event, which is expected to draw up to 800 people.
The team’s affiliation with the Washington Nationals is expected to continue through the 2018 baseball season, when its player development contract with the Nationals expires. Starting with the 2019 season, the Chiefs will become the Triple-A affiliate of the Mets.