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Attorney trying to keep the Rays in Tampa is also consulting on Portland’s baseball bid

Irwin Raij, paid by Hillsborough County and the Tampa Sports Authority, is also getting paid by the group that may one day pursue the Rays.
Credit: Mark Bergin, WTSP
Tropicana Field pictured on Thursday, May 24, 2018. The Tampa Bay Rays beat the Boston Red Sox, 6-3.

The attorney who was hired four years ago to bring the Rays, local governments, and private developers together to secure the Rays a new, long-term home in Tampa, tells 10News’ sister station in Portland he is also representing the group trying to bring baseball to Portland.

Irwin Raij with the New York-based firm O’Melveny is well-known for his work on stadium development and sports projects.

Despite the potentially overlapping interests of the baseball ownership groups in Portland and Tampa, both Raij and Portland investors say there is no conflict of interest at this point.

“I have been transparent with each client about my respective representation in Tampa and Portland,” Raij said.

Raij added he would reevaluate his involvement with both parties if the Portland ownership group started actively pursuing the Rays.

“We’ll monitor these things and certainly ask those questions, but right now it’s worked out well,” Diamond Project founder Craig Cheek said. “This wasn’t the reason we retained him.”

Cheek said they’ve been careful to not improperly influence Raij or anyone else directly involved in the Tampa situation.

“He’s in the mix in a lot of these deals because of his sports experience, his ability to negotiate,” Cheek said.

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