The Kansas City T-Bones (independent; American Association) were physically evicted today from their home, JustBats Field at T-Bones Stadium, with Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City padlocking the doors.
The move comes after the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City Kansas announced that it would evict the T-Bones on August 19, citing default on rent and utility payments. That deadline was extended when team ownership came up with a $50,000 payment, which went toward previous debts but did not relieve the organization of remaining debt.
The extension was also designed to give the T-Bones time to find a buyer for the team (more on that in a bit). But with no sales agreement, the Unified Government went ahead and changed the locks to the ballpark as well as padlocking the doors. Vendors were allowed a chance to grab their property, while employees will be allowed in to grab some personal belongings, but otherwise the team is declared as being evicted. From the Kansas City Star:
“They well knew that this was going to happen. Short of them coming in and paying the debt that they owe, this was going to happen,” said UG Spokesman Mike Taylor. “They knew that so they should not have been surprised one bit.”…
Taylor said the UG still expects to recover the rent and utility debt owed.
“The UG has said from the beginning that evicted or not we would seek collection of that debt from the Ehlerts or the LLC they have through our own means,” he said. “So we’re going to pursue them through the courts to collect as much of that debt as we can.”
The team, meanwhile, issued its own statement regarding the sale of the team:
The Kansas City T-Bones are progressing toward a sale and are scheduled to complete the sale this week. The incoming owner has been in close negotiations and planning with the Unified Government, all for the sake of setting the table for continued American Association professional baseball in Wyandotte County.
The current and future owners have, in fact, satisfied a number of action steps to move toward closing and have communicated these with the UG. The parties have executed a Letter of Intent and Due Diligence is in-progress. As such, neither party can comment outside the confidentiality of the LOI.
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. At the time of August’s announcement, the UG stated that the club owed in excess of $687,000 in current and past due utility payments, along with $75,545.10 in rent.