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Kansas City T-Bones owner plans to sell team to cover debts

Posted at 2:45 PM, Jul 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-09 18:56:06-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The owner of the Kansas City T-Bones baseball team said Tuesday that the family plans to try to sell the team to cover its mounting debts.

Adam Ehlert, president of the T-Bones, told 41 Action News that the team would stay in Kansas City, Kansas, but be run under new ownership. He said the team is in negotiations and hopes to complete a sale at the end of the 2019 season.

The T-Bones, a fixture in KCK for 16 years, currently owe the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and KCK more than $365,000, according to the Unified Government.

In September 2018, KCK officials sent the team a notice of default and requested full payment. The Unified Government said that it still has not received a payment from the team.

The team also owes more than $394,000 in past-due bills to the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.

The Unified Government has been paying the team's utility bills, which range from $8,000 to $10,000 per month, according to a BPU spokesman.

In 2017, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and KCK approved a new contract with the Ehlert family, making the team a manager of CommunityAmerica Ballpark rather than a tenant.

In a statement Tuesday, County Administrator Doug Bach said the T-Bones have a contract that allows the team to manage the stadium through October 2022.

The Unified Government has been working with the T-Bones and recognize they have a plan in progress to address the past due payments. We remain optimistic that their operations this summer will generate sufficient revenue to catch the team up on money they owe our Government for use of the stadium. The T-Bones have a contract that allows them to play in and manage the stadium through October 2022.

When the Unified Government agreed to the new contract in 2017, it noted the decrease in fan attendance and the difficulty in keeping minor league teams on the field as reasons for the change.

The move came after 41 Action News reported in 2013 that the Unified Government helped the T-Bones make payments on the ballpark, which the team privately owned at that time. The Ehlert family paid $18 million prior to the 2003 season to build CommunityAmerica Ballpark, ultimately losing millions of dollars.

This story will be updated.