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LMB: Generales de Durango Franchise and Owner Carlos Lazo Provisionally Suspended Amid Legal Woes

 Leif Skodnick  |    Feb 23rd, 2024 10:32am EST

By Leif Skodnick
World Baseball Network

The Liga Mexicana de Beisbol’s board has “provisionally suspended” Generales de Durango owner Carlos Lazo and the Durango franchise in light of Lazo’s legal situation, according to a statement issued by the league.

Lazo is a Venezuelan businessman with extensive business interests in Mexico, including the Generales, a soccer team, and the Mexico City Reds of the Liga Futbol Americano, a professional American football league that plays in Mexico.

Lazo also owns Grupo Xoy and Yox Holdings, two organizations that have been accused of fraud by Mexican prosecutors in the state of Jalisco. According to a report by the Mexican website Proceso, Yox Holdings defaulted on payments to investors starting in December 2023, and owes nearly MX$130 million – approximately $7.5 million – in damages as of Jan. 18.

Multiple reports indicate Lazo has not been seen since the accusations of fraud surfaced in January. A report in La Jornada indicated that Lazo’s companies were, essentially, a Ponzi scheme, using the money of later investors to pay the returns to earlier investors. Around 40,000 victims were defrauded of over MX$1 billion to invest in the companies, which claimed to use algorithms to place wagers on sporting events to generate returns.

“The measure adopted by the General Assembly of the LMB, in its extraordinary session, has been determined in strict accordance with its social statutes, regulations and applicable regulations, prioritizing sports competition, the certainty of all its participants and ensuring the correct operation of the 2024 season,” the LMB said in a statement that was translated from Spanish.

“As a consequence of the above, the LMB informs the general public that there will be no participation of the Generales de Durango franchise in the 2024 Season,” the statement continued.

The statement did not specify if or how the 2024 season schedule would be modified, as the suspension of the Generales’ franchise means that the league would be left with 19 teams for the upcoming season, requiring that a team be idle every night.

The Generales were slated to open the 2024 season at Saltillo on April 12.

With Durango off the schedule, the Tecolotes de Los Dos Laredos could lose nine home games – 20% of their home schedule – should the schedule not be reconfigured. Saltillo, Monclova, Monterrey, and Union Laguna would each lose six home games, while Chihuahua, Campeche, Quintana Roo, Aguascalientes, and Jalisco would each lose three home games.

The loss of home games could drastically affect each franchise’s finances, as lost home games mean teams would lose gate and concession revenue from those games, as well as potentially suffer reduced revenue from sponsors, who pay to advertise at a set number of games per season.

NOTEBOOK: The LMB announced that several regular season series would swap venues. The series between El Aguila de Veracruz and the Piratas de Campeche on May 7-9, which was originally to be played in Veracruz, will now be played in Campeche, with the series between the two teams schedule for June 25-27 switching to Veracruz. The June 25-27 series between the Dorados de Chihuahua and the Sultanes de Monterrey, originally scheduled for Monterrey, will be played in Chihuahua, and the July 27-29 series between the two teams will be played in Monterrey.