On Monday, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City Kansas announced that it is evicting the Kansas City T-Bones (independent; American Association) from JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium, citing default on rent and utility payments.
According to an announcement from UG officials, T-Bones ownership has fallen behind on payments for rent and utilities. Specifically, it noted that the club owed in excess of $687,000 in current and past due utility payments, along with $75,545.10 in rent.
In a news release on Monday, UG officials said the team owed more than $687,000 in current and past due utility payments. Additionally, the team owed $75,545.10 in rent payments. As of Aug. 16, T-Bones owners had made only three out of 48 monthly payments of $1,678, putting the team in default for 45 months.
The Aug. 16 eviction notice requires the team to move all its property and fixtures from the stadium by 5 p.m. on Sept. 13. The team’s current season ends Sept. 2.
“We have been very patient and worked with the T-Bones for several years,” UG spokesman Mike Taylor said Monday evening. “They’ve missed 45 out of 48 payments and we finally came to the decision that we needed to evict them from the stadium even though they’ve been a great partner and great community attraction for all these years.”
Financial challenges have been an issue for T-Bones ownership over the years, including difficulties that came after Ehlert Development privately financed a $12 million ballpark that was completed in 2003 and is currently known as JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium. To alleviate financial issues, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City spent $8 million as part of a 2014 agreement to buy the ballpark and make the T-Bones a tenant, but that was not enough to prevent future difficulties. More recently, a 2017 deal made the T-Bones the manager of the facility while the two parties agreed to share in utility costs, with the Unified Government covering 55% of those expenses and the team paying the remainder.
The Ehlert family has been working to sell the T-Bones. T-Bones president Aaron Ehlert expressed surprise at the eviction, stating that the organization has maintained close communication with the UG and had made it clear that a sale of the team would not be completed or announced during the current season.
“We are shocked by what appears to be this capricious action,” he said in a statement issued Monday. “We have been in close communication with the UG, keeping them apprised of our status as we work toward a sale of the club. Today’s timing is the real surprise, as we’ve shared publicly—and with the UG—that a sale will not be completed or announced during the season.” After noting the team’s on-field success this season, the statement went on to add that the organization remains “optimistic that a solution will be reached in the short-term, to retain baseball in a great market, for the long-term. The millions of fans who have enjoyed our product over nearly two decades should share our optimism for the future as we work to close the sale to the next operator of this franchise.”
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