In early February of 2009, the kinky installment deal by which Jeff Moorad was to buy the Padres was announced. It has since blown up and the team is back in the hands of John Moores, who has retreated to Texas. Now the story can be told: on September 12 of 2008, months before the Moorad deal, Jerry Gross, former Padres announcer, handed Moores's personal assistant a note to give to Moores. Neil Papiano, prominent Los Angeles lawyer (he has represented Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood, Walter Matthau, former Padres player Steve Garvey, among many others) stated in the letter that he had a client who had rounded up investors interested in buying the Padres.
That client was the legendary James M. (Jimmy) Nederlander, now 90 years of age, known as the "patriarch of Broadway." On Sept. 29 and again on Dec. 18, 2008, Gross passed on to the Padres Papiano letters expressing the Nederlander interest in purchasing the team. "Nobody called us back," says Papiano. He points out that the Nederlander family is very rich. "They don't need to worry about money; they don't have to go to somebody to find money," says Papiano. James M. Nederlander's closest friend was the late George Steinbrenner, owner of the New York Yankees. Nederlander had put up money in Steinbrenner's 1973 purchase of the team, and Robert Nederlander, a brother, had run the team for 18 months.
The Nederlander Organization has nine Broadway theaters and many others throughout the United States. It puts on shows at the Civic Theatre, Balboa Theatre, and RIMAC Arena in San Diego, among other local activities.
Gross feels that had Moores contacted Papiano and talked with James M. Nederlander or other members of the Nederlander empire, the Padres would have been much more solidly financed, and perhaps might have a payroll large enough to finance a good team.