President-elect Donald Trump and Todd Ricketts, a co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, shake hands as Ricketts leaves the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J., on Nov. 19, 2016. (Carolyn Kaster / AP)
Todd Ricketts, a scion of the billionaire family that owns the Chicago Cubs, has removed his name from consideration for deputy commerce secretary after concluding he would not be able to meet the financial requirements, a spokesman for the family said.
Ricketts, who spent more than four months trying to work out his nomination, told President Donald Trump of his decision on Wednesday.
"Mr. Ricketts has informed President Trump that he will be unable to serve as Deputy Secretary of Commerce," a statement from Ricketts’ spokesman said. "The scope of issues that face the Department of Commerce is very broad and these issues potentially could touch many of Mr. Ricketts’ family’s current financial interests.
"Mr. Ricketts is mindful of his obligation to avoid even the appearance of conflict and therefore decided not to pursue this opportunity at the Department of Commerce," the statement said.
Ricketts would have needed Senate approval to take the job, but his nomination never advanced to a confirmation hearing being held by the Senate Commerce Committee.
Last Jan. 3, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, the top Democrat on the GOP-led committee, sent a letter with pre-hearing questions to Ricketts.
The senator asked Ricketts to respond by Jan. 9, but never heard back, his spokesman, Bryan Gulley said Wednesday.
Ricketts would have served under Wilbur Ross Jr., a billionaire himself who pledged during his confirmation process to resign from a host of corporate positions and divest some of his vast holdings.
Ricketts, though, found the requirements to take the position too difficult to meet. His most prominent holding is his stake in the Cubs, which is family, drawing on his father Joe’s fortune, bought in 2009 from the Tribune Company. He serves on the board along with his three siblings Pete, Tom and Laura.