The threatened lawsuits have been filed, as Rich Ehrenreich has filed two actions: one against the city of Zion for not building a new ballpark and one against investors who failed to consummate a purchase of the now-defunct Schaumburg Flyers (independent; Northern League).
Though the two lawsuits are filed by separate corporate entities, the commonality is Ehrenreich, the lead owner of both the Flyers and the Lake County Fielders (independent; North American League). In the lawsuit against Zion, Grand Slam Sports (the team’s corporate name) says the city misled Ehrenreich and crew into their true intentions for a new ballpark: the city never intended to build a permanent ballpark and instead forced the team into playing the 2011 season at a temporary facility, leading to financial losses suffered by the franchise. Those financial losses manifested into the team missing payroll and subsequently withdrawing from the final road series of the year. Since then, the temporary ballpark has been partially dismantled (some 4,500 seats were removed), the team is effectively on hiatus and will need to defend itself from charges from Zion that $340,000 is owed in back rent for both 2010 and 2011.
The underlying assertion: that local politics impeded the city from building a promised ballpark for the team. We’re not going to chronicle the specifics — the Daily Herald does a good job of that, and they’re mostly local, anyway — but in essence the city and a local developer allegedly colluded to line their own pockets while failing to follow through on their legal obligation to build a new ballpark for the team; furthermore, the city has sought to damage the Fielders by seeking a new tenant.
In the other case, filed earlier the month, Ehrenreich is alleging the potential buyers of the Flyers caused him harm by failing to follow through with the deal, despite a purchase agreement for $2.73 million signed on June 18, 2010. The withdrawal of the purchase agreement eventually led to the team being evicted from Alexian Field by the city of Schaumburg for nonpayment of rent — some $550,000. At the time of the same, Ehrenreich said the sale of the team would cover any back rent and give him enough working capital to make a go of it in Zion.
RELATED STORIES: Zion, Fielders headed to court?; Nine players, 125 fans in Zion; NAL season ending early; It’s Fielders vs. Fielders in Lake County; Fielders: We’re still in NAL — for now; Fielders tossed from North American League; Fielders skip on Hawaii road trip; season in question; Fielders game scrapped because of sub-par baseballs; Fielders may disband because of city inaction on new ballpark; Zion: Fielders owe us $185,000 in back rent; Fielders’ Zaman quits on the air; Fielders continue blame game for financial woes, adding league to mix; Fielders: Don’t blame us, blame Zion; Unpaid players revolt in Lake County; 9 traded, 14 released
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