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Marion group agrees to buy Diamondbacks' Class A team
MARION, Ill. -- The lead investor in a minor-league ballpark rising in Marion, Ill., has agreed to buy a potential home team for the field.
A small investment group that includes East Alton attorney John Simmons on Wednesday entered into a definitive purchase and sale agreement for the South Bend, Ind., Silver Hawks, the Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The owner of the Silver Hawks confirmed the pending sale as did a consultant for Simmons, but neither could confirm that Simmons is planning to move the team to Marion.
Simmons is the lead investor in a group building the Marion ballpark on 31 acres of land near Interstate 57 and Illinois Route 13 in a project that includes public and private financing.
Officials broke ground earlier this summer on the stadium site and have said they hoped to see the start of minor league baseball by 2007.
The team sale announcement came one day after the Illinois Republican Party called for an investigation into the stadium project. Simmons has been a major campaign contributor to Illinois Democrats, including Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who attended last month's groundbreaking and included state funding for the project in this year's budget.