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PBGC Grants Washington Nationals Request

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The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. has given the new owners of the Washington Nationals an exemption from a rule meant to protect members of multiemployer pension plans.

PBGC regulations normally require a company that buys the assets of an employer participating in a multiemployer plan to post a bond or deposit money for the 5-year period beginning after the sale.

The Washington Nationals Baseball Club L.L.C., Washington, bought the Washington Nationals baseball team from Baseball Expos L.P., Wilmington, Del., in April 2006.

The new team owners asked earlier this year for an exemption from the 5-year escrow rule, arguing that the escrow deposit is not necessary because the Major League Central Fund, an arm of the Major League Baseball Clubs, New York, satisfies pension contribution requirements using monies from All-Star game gate receipts and radio and television revenue from the broadcast of World Series, League Championship and All-Star games.

The monies are paid without passing through the hands of any of the clubs, the Washington Nationals Baseball Club notes in the application, which appeared in January in the Federal Register.

The Baseball Expos received an exemption from the escrow requirement in 2003, after they bought the team from owners in Montreal and moved it to Washington.


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