Citing over $1.1 million in unpaid debt, the MLB Partner League Atlantic League terminated the Gastonia Honey Hunters membership and filed suit to collect on the debt; the city has also filed a lawsuit seeking payment and eviction from Caromont Health Park.
The Honey Hunters, playing out of CaroMont Health Park, faced financial issues in August, with players refusing to take the field because of unpaid salaries and the city seeking $88,038.75 in back rent and payments for ballpark rent and accompanying services. A payment to the city addressed this shortfall, but later in August the team was served a notice by the league that the team was in violation of Atlantic League Bylaws and the League Affiliation Agreement. The team was also served notice in September that money was owed the league.
A lawsuit filed last week by the Atlantic League seeks a payment of more than $1.1 million to address the debt.
The separate suit from the city alleges the team still owes $36,000 in unpaid naming rights payments and gas bill. In addition, the team failed to maintain the ballpark, allowing mold to develop and failing to address some basic maintenance issues. As a result, the city is moving to evict the team from CaroMont Health Park, per the Gastonia Gazette:
Now that the team has been terminated from the Atlantic League, the team has even less incentive to meet its financial obligations, the lawsuit stated.
In addition to not paying its bills, the team also has not properly maintained the stadium, which it leases from the city, according to the lawsuit.
A city inspection earlier this year found that the upkeep of the restroom facilities was “extremely poor,” and that there were maintenance issues in the kitchen as well. Furthermore, the lawsuit stated, there were weeds growing through the facility’s concrete, and excessive trash had accumulated near both dugouts. There was also an unattended leak in the first aid room, and mold was discovered, the lawsuit stated.
The City of Gastonia wants the courts to force the @gohoneyhunters out of the stadium. A suit says the team was cut from the Atlantic League, failed to pay naming rights and gas bill, allowed mold and “extremely poor” conditions, was 6 months behind on the lease. pic.twitter.com/9AQc8os7GS
— Ken (@kenlemonWSOC9) November 22, 2023
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