A pro-business group filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Major League Baseball, claiming it had no right to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s restrictive voting law.
An Addison, Texas-based organization called Job Creators Network said “thousands of hard-working ordinary men and women in the Atlanta area” had been banking on proceeds from this year’s All-Star Game before: “Defendants took this all away in the blink of an eye.”
Two months ago, MLB announced it was pulling the All-Star Game from Truist Park, the Cobb County home of the Atlanta Braves, days after Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed into law a host of Republican-backed restrictions, including requiring identification for mail voting and making it illegal to take food or water to voters in line.
The lawsuit, filed in New York City where MLB headquarters is located, also named MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, the MLB Players Association and union chief Tony Clark as defendants.
The civil suit is asking for $100 million in damages and a punitive award of up to $1 billion.
Job Creators Network calls itself a “nonpartisan organization whose mission is to educate employers and employees of Main Street America, in order to protect the 85 million people who depend on the success of small businesses.”
The group claimed it was victimized by the All-Star Game’s removal from Atlanta because it “had to divert resources to address the grave harm to its Atlanta-area members” and has had to “divert personnel from its fundraising efforts resulting in lower receipts.”
The organization said it was forced to take out ads in the New York Times and lease signs in Times Square to fight MLB and together “these costs amount to over $1.6 million.”
Throughout the civil complaint, plaintiff said the people of Cobb County suffered as a result of MLB’s actions. Cobb County is not a party to this lawsuit. A county spokeswoman declined comment on the civil action on Tuesday.
A MLBPA spokesman also declined to discuss on the lawsuit on Tuesday, while MLB reps could not be immediately reached for comment.
The All-Star Game is now set to be played on July 13 at Coors Field in Denver.
In addition to the high-profile exhibition game — featuring top players of the National and American Leagues — the All-Star Game week includes a host of other events, including a celebrity softball game, the amateur draft, a minor league all-star game and home run derby.
The sweeping new restrictions came in the wake of two stunning elections that tilted the balance of power in Washington, D.C.
In November, Joe Biden became the first Democrat since 1992 to carry the presidential vote in Georgia. Biden won by about one-quarter of a percentage point, leading then-President Donald Trump to pressure Georgia officials to overturn those results.
Then two months later, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock won runoff elections for the state’s two U.S. Senate spots, giving narrow control of the chamber to their party.
Former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams has been largely credited with leading voter registration efforts in minority communities that have turned the once solid red state decidedly purple. She said the new restrictions amount to an act of voter suppression.