Plan to be presented at Thursday UG meeting for new owners of baseball team at Village West

A baseball game at T-Bones Stadium on Sept. 8, 2019. A plan is in place for a new owner for the baseball team. (File photo)

A resolution to approve a five-year management agreement for the baseball stadium at Village West is on the agenda for the 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17, Unified Government Commission meeting.

Max Fun Entertainment LLC would manage the baseball stadium in Village West, according to the Oct. 17 agenda, online at www.wycokck.org. The UG meeting will be held at the Commission Chambers, lobby level, City Hall, 701 N. 7th St., Kansas City, Kansas.

The UG evicted the former baseball management, the T-Bones, on Monday morning, locking the doors at T-Bones Stadium.

According to agenda information, the UG and Max Fun would make a five-year agreement, with three five-year renewal options.

Max Fun would buy and manage a new baseball team that would play home games at the Village West stadium, and would manage all other stadium operations, according to the proposed agreement.

According to the proposed agreement, Max Fun would spend at least $500,000 on capital improvements on the stadium before May 1, 2022. They also would try to develop event spaces open to the public on a year-round basis, which might include sand volleyball, pickleball courts, a sports bar or outdoor music stage. The UG will spend at least $1 million from a restricted STAR bond account that would only be expended on this stadium within two years on capital improvements to the stadium, according to the proposed agreement.

The UG, under the proposed agreement, would be entitled to 5 percent of all money derived from nonbaseball events at the stadium.

The proposed agreement stated the parties would continue to split the cost of utilities at the stadium for the first year of the agreement. After the first year, Max Fun would take over all utility payments.

The stadium property is tax exempt, and Max Fun would pay the property taxes of the parking lot and common area maintenance, under the proposed agreement.

The agreement requires Max Fund to get a letter of credit for $100,000 to cover payments of utility charges after the first year and a surety bond to cover the capital improvements. Max Fun also would have to get a guarantor of sufficient net worth to guarantee the letter of credit and the capital improvement obligations, according to the proposed agreement.

The proposed agreement also stated the stadium would be available for local high school baseball games, use by the UG Recreation Department and the public for community events and fundraisers.

Max Fun would pay a 50-cent per ticket tax to go to improvement of park facilities in Wyandotte County, and the fund is capped at $20,000 for the first two years of the agreement.

According to documents on file with the Kansas Secretary of State’s office, Max Fund Entertainment LLC was filed as a corporation on Oct. 10, 2019. The organizer of the corporation was listed as Mark F. Brandmeyer of Leawood, Kansas.

Brandmeyer is an entrepreneur who is the principal owner at Brandmeyer Enterprises and a partner in Built, a prefab construction company, according to a news release from the UG.

The UG stated that if the UG Commission approves the management agreement, the next step will be reviewed by league officials with the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.  League approval will be the final step in Max Fun taking over ownership and operations of the T-Bones.

T-Bones evicted from stadium

A play from one of the last games at T-Bones Stadium this year, on Sept. 8, 2019. The T-Bones were evicted from the stadium on Oct. 14. (Video by Mary Rupert)

by Mary Rupert

After a one-month extension expired on their stadium contract, the Kansas City T-Bones were evicted from T-Bones Stadium by the Unified Government.

The UG notified the T-Bones they would be evicted Sept. 13 for not paying overdue utility bills and other payments of around three-quarters of a million dollars. That figure is now not as high, as the T-Bones, who were in the process of selling the team, got a one-month extension after making a $50,000 payment.

“We’re optimistic that a new ownership group will come in and will have baseball there next season,” said Mike Taylor, a spokesman for the UG.

Taylor said a team of locksmiths and a UG crew went to the stadium at 6 a.m. Monday and padlocked all the gates, changing the locks, so the T-Bones would not have access to the stadium.

The T-Bones issued this statement today:

“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,” the T-Bones stated in a news release.

The UG, however, says that the T-Bones had a lot of opportunities and a lot of time to pay the bill.

“We gave them a lot of opportunities, we gave them a lot of leeway and extensions,” Taylor said. It is a publicly owned stadium using taxpayer dollars. “An average citizen is expected to pay their BPU bill or mortgage and we should expect the same from our business partners. We gave them enough slack, we finally have to say, no more.

“We’ve been in constant discussions with the league and we are very optimistic that a new ownership group may come in, and we’ll still have baseball there next summer,” Taylor said. “That’s not a promise, but we’re optimistic that a new ownership group will come in and bring a team under new ownership.”

Taylor said the T-Bones’ owner, Adam Ehlert, was not at the stadium this morning.

“This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone,” Taylor said. “We gave them ample notice that unless they paid their debt by midnight, Oct. 13, they would be evicted from the stadium. It shouldn’t have been a surprise.”

The Ehlerts are trying to sell the team currently to a new ownership group, according to Taylor. The next team to play here could either have the name T-Bones or could have a new name, he said, depending on their agreement.

Some vendors have contacted the UG and told them they had items in the stadium that were not paid for, or that were leased. The UG is doing an inventory and at some point will let vendors come in and take their equipment, Taylor said.

He also said a T-Bones staff member told them she had left a few personal things on her desk at the stadium. Taylor said they will get back in touch with her and let her collect her personal items.

The T-Bones were the American Association champions in 2018 and made a run for the title again in 2019.

No eviction tomorrow for T-Bones; team will stay another month

The Kansas City T-Bones won’t be evicted from their baseball stadium on Friday.

The Unified Government announced today it would give them another 30 days.

Mike Taylor, UG spokesman, said that the T-Bones and American Association made a $50,000 payment, and the UG gave them 30 more days.

The team has told the UG a couple of different groups are interested in buying the team and it will take a little more time to happen, Taylor said.

In August, the UG stated that the T-Bones were more than three-quarters of a million dollars behind in their utility and stadium payments to the city of Kansas City, Kansas, and the Board of Public Utilities.

The UG issued an eviction notice to the T-Bones in a letter dated Aug. 16, for an eviction on Sept. 13.

According to Taylor, the one-month extension was granted in order for the team and the American Association to negotiate the sale of the team to a new owner.

“The T-Bones, the American Association of Independent American Baseball, and the Unified Government have been committed to playing the 2020 season and beyond. This agreement with the UG is a good reinforcement of that mutual commitment,” Joshua Schaub, the commissioner of the American Association, said in a news release.

The Unified Government owns the stadium and in 2017 reworked the management agreement with the T-Bones in an effort to keep the team in the stadium. Under the agreement, the T-Bones are responsible for paying current utility bills, past due utility bills and past due payments for use of the stadium, the UG news release stated. The T-Bones failed to make most of those payments.

Team owners have stated they are in the process of selling the team and indicated the back debts could be paid when the sale is confirmed. The extension gives the T-Bones and American Association 30 days to negotiate and complete the sale of the team and payment of the debt. The payment of the $50,000 and extension of the eviction does not relieve the T-Bones organization of paying the remainder of the debt owed, the UG stated.

“The Unified Government looks forward to the sale of the team to new owners and repayment of the debt. More importantly, we look forward to keeping a baseball team in our stadium because we view the team as a community asset and an important part of our successful Village West tourism district,” County Administrator Doug Bach stated.

The 30-day extension runs until 5 p.m. Oct. 13.