July 4, 1929|
Baltimore, Maryland, United States
|Education||University of Baltimore School of Law|
Owner: MLB, Baltimore Orioles, Racehorse owner/breeder
|Net worth||US$2.1 billion (2017)|
|Children||Louis, John P. Angelos grandchild, Peter C. Angelos|
|Honors||Ellis Island Medal of Honor (1996)|
In March of 1996 Maryland hired Angelos to represent the state in its suit against tobacco companies with a 25-percent contingency fee. After Angelos filed suit on behalf of the state the trial court ruled that the state's recovery would be limited to subrogation of losses through programs such as Medicaid; this would have effectively ended the state's case. Angelos successfully lobbied the state legislature to change the law to allow the state's suit to proceed. The state legislature also cut Angelos' fee to 12.5 percent. Angelos then agreed to accept the lower fee in exchange for the legislature lifting caps on non-economic damages in asbestos suits. Given that Angelos was the leading asbestos lawyer in Maryland at the time, this was very lucrative for him. After the legislation was passed, Angelos reneged on his deal and demanded his full 25 percent fee. Eventually he settled for $150 million paid over five years.
Angelos is the son of John (a bar owner) and Frances Angelos, who immigrated to the United States from Menetes, Karpathos, Greece. Peter Angelos married Georgia Kousouris in 1966, and they had two children together, John and Louis. Angelos' family settled in the working-class neighborhood of Highlandtown, and lived in a row house. Angelos' father owned a local tavern, and his father mostly spoke Greek at home.
After graduating from Patterson Park High School, Angelos attended the University of Baltimore, where he earned a bachelor's degree. He then attended law school at night at the University of Baltimore School of Law, studying so conscientiously that he was named class valedictorian. Angelos passed the bar in 1961 and opened an office specializing in handling product-liability cases for employees, almost always on a contingency basis. In one of his most celebrated cases, he represented some 8,700 steelworkers, shipyard workers, and manufacturers' employees in a consolidated-action asbestos poisoning suit that was partially settled in 1992. Angelos' take from that litigation alone has been estimated at $330 million.
He served a brief stint on the Baltimore City Council and ran for mayor on the city's first interracial ticket in 1967, and lost.
Angelos also achieved considerable success representing the state of Maryland in a suit against Philip Morris and suing Wyeth, the makers of part of the diet pill combination fen-phen. Angelos's law firm currently has offices in Baltimore; Philadelphia; Cumberland, Maryland; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Knoxville, Tennessee. The headquarters of the firm is housed in the historic One Charles Center building in downtown Baltimore, which was bought by Angelos for $6 million in 1996, and was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1962.
|1961||Law Offices of Peter Angelos||Founded|
|Baltimore City Council||Member|
|1993 -||Baltimore Orioles||Principal owner and managing partner|
|University of Baltimore Law School Advisory Committee||Member|
|University of Maryland Foundation|
|Loyola College||Board of Trustees|
A lifelong Democrat, he held a seat on Baltimore City Council from 1959 to 1963. He was the first Greek-American to be elected to the council. Angelos ran for mayor of Baltimore in 1963 as an independent, and while he lost with less than 10% of the vote, he became the first candidate in Maryland's political history to run as the lead on a bi-racial ticket. He lost the 1967 Baltimore Mayor's race to Thomas D'Alesandro III losing all 555 precincts to D'Alesandro, scion and namesake of a popular former Mayor of Baltimore. Three times in the 1960s he unsuccessfully challenged Republican incumbents in the Maryland Legislature. He has also used his influence with the small business community to call for the continuation of Maryland's Contributory negligence laws while most of the United States has adopted the more equitable distributory negligence system.
In 1993 Angelos assembled a group of investors to purchase the Orioles from New York venture capitalist Eli Jacobs. While Angelos was the principal investor, contributing $40 million, his fellow Oriole group owners included novelist Tom Clancy, filmmaker Barry Levinson, and tennis player Pam Shriver. On October 4, 1993, Jacobs sold the Orioles to Angelos' group for $173 million, the highest price paid for a sports franchise at that time. Angelos took over as managing partner and principal owner of the team. His official titles with the club are Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer.
The transition of ownership was not necessarily smooth and easy for those involved. Angelos immediately proved himself to be a hands-on owner who would be involved in major personnel decisions and who would be willing to pay high salaries to talented free agents. Under Angelos' direction, the Orioles signed four high-priced free agents in 1994: Rafael Palmeiro, Sid Fernandez, Chris Sabo, and Lee Smith. The team was performing like a legitimate pennant contender when the baseball strike began in August 1994. As one of the newest members of the elite group of baseball owners, Angelos was expected to abide by the owners' decisions quietly without offering any alternatives or using his experience with labor law to negotiate with the players' union. Angelos did not like that arrangement and he did not particularly care if the world found out.
Angelos' stance became known almost immediately. When the other owners signed a document cancelling the rest of the 1994 baseball season, including the World Series, Angelos refused to sign it because it blamed the players for the impasse. When the owners formed a committee to negotiate the strike, they did not include Angelos, despite his vast experience as a labor-management negotiator. When talks between the players and the owners stalled in December 1994, and the owners voted to impose a salary cap, Angelos was one of three dissenters to the arrangement. What brought him into the public eye, however, was his refusal to field replacement players should the strike last into the 1995 major league baseball season.
Angelos announced his decision about replacement players early in 1995 and was immediately hailed in blue-collar Baltimore as a champion of the worker. For his part, the maverick owner saw his choice as nothing more than sound business. As his fellow owners mulled what action to take against Angelos—everything from a $250,000 fine for each game missed to forcing the sale of the Orioles—the strike was finally settled in time for regular season play with major leaguers. Angelos had made a statement with his stance, however, and a nation of baseball fans responded. He was deluged with mail from all over the country and treated with near-reverence by Orioles fans.
Angelos arranged for a two-game exhibition series to be played between the Orioles and the Cuban national baseball team in 1999. The Orioles won the first game, played in Havana, while the Cuban team won the second game, held at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
In 2000, the team's general manager, Syd Thrift, told The Washington Times that the team had a practice of not signing players who had defected from Cuba, which he attributed to Angelos' desire to avoid doing "anything that could be interpreted as being disrespectful" by the Cuban government. Angelos denied the existence of such a policy. Subsequent investigations by Major League Baseball and the United States Department of Justice did not find evidence that the absence of Cuban players on the Orioles' roster or in its minor league system was due to discrimination.
In May 2009, a Sports Illustrated article reviewing owners of Major League Baseball franchises rated Angelos as the worst owner in the Major Leagues. The article notes that the methodology "was not scientific" and "weighing heavily in the decision was the team's success or failure on the field." Two weeks later, Brady Anderson, a member of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame, responded in an op-ed to The Baltimore Sun, writing that Angelos deserves to be on a list of the "best owners in baseball."
On April 16, 2010, a Fox Sports article suggested that Angelos allegedly denied a job to Cal Ripken, Jr., an Oriole legend, when Ripken offered to come work for the franchise in a supporting role to help the O's young talent develop. A day later, ESPN, MLB.com and The Baltimore Sun wrote that the Fox Sports story was inaccurate. Angelos denied that the two had spoken about potential opportunities with the Baltimore Orioles, but said he welcomed future discussions on the topic.
On April 19, 2010, Cal Ripken Jr. issued a statement denying the Fox Sports story. In the statement, Ripken expressed an interest in returning to baseball and described his relationship with Angelos as "very good."
He was named "Marylander of the Year" by The Baltimore Sun in 1988, with a citation that read: "Measured by professional accomplishments and contributions to his city and region, he is the Marylander of this decade."
Angelos is well known for various acts of charity and philanthropy, having contributed millions to civic and community institutions around Maryland. He is the largest individual donor to the University of Baltimore and pledged $5 million to the school in 2008. In 2010, The Baltimore Sun reported that Angelos had recently donated $10 million to the university. The same report notes that during the particularly hot summer of 2010, Angelos anonymously donated $300,000 to keep Baltimore city pools open.
- Collins, Louise Mooney; Speace, Geri J. (1995). Newsmakers, The People Behind Today's Headlines, 1995 Cumulation. New York: Gale Research Inc. p. 8. ISBN 0-8103-5745-3.
- Brickman, Lester (2011). Lawyer Barons. New York: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-18949-1.
- DAVID GINSBURG (1994-11-08). "Angelos 'Dominant' Force Behind Cuba-Orioles Series – Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. ASSOCIATED PRESS. Retrieved 2013-03-15.
- Probe of Orioles finds no violations The Washington Times
- "Arturo Moreno, John Henry rank among best MLB owners". CNN. May 8, 2009. Archived from the original on March 5, 2010. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
- Brady Anderson (June 2, 2009). "Viewpoint: Angelos doesn't deserve the bad rap".
- If Ripken calls, Orioles owner interested MLB.com
- Orioles' Angelos denies that Ripken requested job in front office The Baltimore Sun
- Orioles ready to talk if Ripken wants job ESPN
- Ripken has considered return to Orioles MLB.com
- "Peter G. Angelos, Marylander of Year; Honor: Lawyer invests in his hometown to improve it for all who live and work here". The Sun. December 27, 1998.
- Peter Angelos, Esq. Archived 2008-09-15 at the Wayback Machine. Ellis Island Medals of Honor
- Peter Angelos remains a powerful paradox The Baltimore Sun