As O’Brien claims ‘zero debt,’ Cosmos being sued for unpaid rent

IMAGE, NEW YORK COSMOS FACEBOOK

by JAKE NUTTING

New York Cosmos Chairman and Owner Seamus O’Brien tells the Guardian ,”We aren’t closing the doors” in response to the mounting assumption that the team is on its last legs.  Of course, O’Brien was speaking metaphorically at that time.

But the team’s literal office might be shutting the doors on him.

Big Apple Soccer reported on Monday that the Cosmos are being sued by the landlord of their Long Island offices in Garden City for over $50,000 in unpaid rent. Quentin Roosevelt Associates, LLC filed the petition last week in Nassau County against the Cosmos Soho Office, LLC to collect back rent and evict the team from the offices.

While the petition doesn’t note how many months behind the Cosmos are on their rent, it does claim the team owes $55,280.55. If the landlord’s assertion is true, it would seemingly fly in the face of O’Brien’s stance that the Cosmos carry no debt.

“We have invested in a business. The business has zero debt,” O’Brien tells Guardian contributor and EoS editor Dave Martinez. O’Brien did not deny recent reports that Cosmos ownership have invested around $30 million over the course of the last few years, but he maintained the number is line with many other sports ventures and is not something he’d categorize as debt.

“That’s an investment in a business,” he offered as explanation. “That is a fraction of what some people have invested in this country. Look at all the MLS investments. They wouldn’t call that debt. That is an investment in our business. Our business carries zero debt. All the money has been invested by shareholders”

In further comments from the interview, O’Brien defended the team’s solvency, arguing that, “You are investing money into the business and we have invested significantly. We are not the only business that invests into a growing brand and where you want it to go. Not always does a business plan go on exactly the path you think it is going to, but you are investing as you go on.”

A hearing for the case has been scheduled for Wednesday morning. The Cosmos are required to appear at the hearing or risk losing the chance at presenting any defense.