Legislator imposes Jan. 20 deadline for Royals, Chiefs to sign term sheets or stadium vote may be rescinded

Truman Sports Complex Kauffman and Arrowhead.jpeg
Posted at 6:29 PM, Jan 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-09 19:29:21-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There is a new twist in Jackson County's ongoing stadium saga.

Legislator Jalen Anderson issued a statement Monday threatening to lead the charge to scuttle the ordinance if the Royals and Kansas City Chiefs, who are co-tenants at the Harry S. Truman Sports Complex, don’t sign term sheets that outline a lease agreement by Jan. 20.

The Jackson County Legislature passed an ordinance earlier Monday that would put a 40-year extension of the 3/8-cent sales tax that funded the renovations and continuing maintenance for Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals currently play, and GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Chiefs.

County Executive Frank White Jr. has until Jan. 18 to veto the ordinance, but the 8-1 majority who supported passing the ordinance could easily override such a decision from the former Royals second baseman and team Hall of Fame inductee.

Now, Anderson has ratcheted up the pressure on the teams once again.

The ordinance outlines the legislature’s terms for moving forward, which includes “executed term sheets, setting forth the terms of the leases with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.”

“If the term sheets are not received by the 20th day of January, the legislature will move to withdraw the ordinance or, in the event it has been vetoed, refuse to override the veto,” Anderson said in his statement.

Additionally, Anderson said the Royals — who are seeking a new stadium and promised to keep it in Jackson County, if voters pass a sales-tax extension in April — and Chiefs, who plan to renovate Arrowhead, “must commit to signing leases by March 1st so that the public knows well ahead of the election what all parties' representations, warranties, and obligations are.”

Megan Marshall was the only legislator who voted against the ordinance at Monday’s meeting and it’s unclear for how many of the eight “yes” votes Anderson’s statement speaks.

But Legislator Manny Abarca echoed Anderson's hesitation to pronounce an April 2 vote as a sure thing, saying it's not "a done deal" and that both teams must "meet critical deadlines to produce critical answers," including a site location for the Royals and "clearer plans for Arrowhead."

"This is the time work should get done and constituents get answers, not to merely prepare for a vote," Abarca said via social media.

An early draft of the ordinance also required a community benefits agreement, but a late substitution softened that language and now strongly encourages it. Anderson addressed the legislature’s expectations with respect to such an agreement, which outlines civic requirements in the construction process.

“The legislature also expects the teams to negotiate in good faith with community representatives, the Good Jobs and Affordable Housing for All coalition, organized labor, and a Community Benefits Agreement that guarantees inclusivity for the workforce and MBE/WBE contractors during construction,” Anderson said in his statement. “This agreement must also include fair pay for employees of the teams and vendors who will be working at the stadiums other than players and front office personnel.”

KSHB 41 has reached out to both teams for comment on the new development.

The Royals announced plans in November 2022 to seek a new stadium and indicated over the summer that potential sites had been whittled to one in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, a few blocks east of City Hall or just across the Missouri River at a Clay County site in North Kansas City.

Initially, the team planned to announce a decision by the end of September, but that didn't happen and other sites may now be in play again as the circuitous route to a resolution takes yet another turn.