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SBD/June 16, 2011/Franchises
Ricketts Says Cubs' Debt Won't Limit Signing Of Free Agents This Offseason
Published June 16, 2011
ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: Ricketts on CNBC yesterday said, “The commissioner came out and the league is completely comfortable with our debt structure. The Cubs are an investment grade credit. The important thing people have to know is that nothing in our debt structure and nothing in our balance sheet is in any way affecting our ability to put a team on the field. It's really just a technicality driven by the structure of the transaction and nothing more than that. There's nothing to worry about.” Meanwhile, Ricketts said, “Obviously, the Cubs do have one of the highest payrolls in the National League and one of the highest payrolls in all Major League Baseball and we haven't gotten the kind of performance on the field that we were looking for.” He added, “We’re working on the organization as a whole,” investing in Spring Training facilities in Arizona, development facilities in the Dominican Republic and “doing everything to build a better organization” (“Closing Bell With Maria Bartiromo,” CNBC, 6/15).
NOT A CAUSE FOR AMUSEMENT: In Chicago, Melissa Harris reports after a "routine audit that covered years when" Tribune Co. owned the Cubs, Cook County notified the team that it "owed as much as $1.5 million in back amusement taxes, plus interest and penalties." Sources said that the dispute "centers around amusement taxes on Wrigley Field's approximately 65 luxury suites." Cook County reduced its request to "about $570,000 and is awaiting a ruling from the bankruptcy judge." The county has also "begun an audit of amusement tax payments under the Ricketts regime." The Bears have "encountered the same problem" with the 133 suites at Soldier Field. Sources said that the team is "protesting its larger amusement tax bill and is awaiting a ruling on the dispute from an administrative law judge." Harris notes a county ordinance states that "admission-related fees are subject to the amusement tax." But what is in dispute is "when parking, food and other amenities are included in a luxury suite bill -- as they sometimes are at Wrigley and Soldier fields." Cook County "contends they are" subject to the tax (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 6/16).