A lawsuit over a failed Zion (Ill.) ballpark from the Lake County Fielders (independent; North American League) has been expanded to allege a conspiracy involving a developer and the decision to move the facility site.
The original lawsuit alleges that Zion officials failed to live up to the terms of an agreement to build a new ballpark for the Fielders and instead ensured the team’s doom by consigning it to a temporary facility. In new filings, Grand Slam Sports and Entertainment (which owns the team) counsel added two allegation of conspiracy, saying city officials changed the site of the ballpark to divert economic-development funds to property owned by Richard Delisle. The conspiracy was allegedly between Delisle and city city officials. In addition, the new filings assert that Zion had no intention of building a new ballpark and were instead courting a replacement team.
In response, Zion has said it lived up to the terms of the original ballpark lease — which didn’t compel the city to actually complete a new ballpark until 2012, anyway — and the deal with the Fielders went sour because the team ended up some $340,000 in arrears. Since the Fielders stopped paying rent with a valid lease in place, Zion was not obligation to immediately build a new ballpark.
The real nugget in the filings: Zion apparently is not interested in talking settlement. Indeed, the Fielders still talk like they’d be willing to kiss and make up if back rent were forgiven and the city moved ahead with a new ballpark. However, with no source of funding for a new ballpark (the state has said no to any economic-redevelopment funds), it’s hard to see the city spend any more money on the Fielders.
RELATED STORIES: Illinois to Zion: Exactly where did the ballpark money go?; Zion official: Bottom line, Fielders didn’t pay bills; Ehrenreich suing Zion, potential Schaumburg buyers; 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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