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.

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