SBD/August 2, 2012/Facilities

Royals' Use Of Taxpayer Money At Center Of Dispute With Jackson County Officials

The Royals are allowed to use the fund for repairs, utilities at Kauffman Stadium
The Royals and Jackson County (Mo.) officials yesterday “escalated their long-running battle over taxpayer support for Kauffman Stadium and the Truman Sports Complex,” according to a front-page piece by Helling & Dillon of the K.C. STAR. Amid criticism of “how the team uses tax dollars," County Exec Mike Sanders and Royals Owner David Glass "talked stadium spending in a rare phone call between the two.” At the center of the conflict “sits growing dissatisfaction in county government with stadium lease terms agreed to six years ago by the Royals and Chiefs, and the teams’ insistence that the county stick to the deal.” The teams have “long insisted their spending for some personnel costs, including taxes, are fully allowed" by 25-year leases signed in '06. But critics, including “some in county government, argue such spending is unreasonable.” Tempers had “clearly flared” yesterday. But Sanders’ Chief of Staff Calvin Williford said, “We continue to work with the teams to resolve these issues in a way that protects the taxpayers.” Reports that the Royals and Chiefs “spent taxpayer money on personnel costs and other expenses rocketed through the blogoshpere and on local sports talk radio Tuesday and Wednesday.” Some critics were “particularly steamed that the teams had used taxpayer money to cover payroll taxes.” A special fund created by the leases “typically collects $8.5 million in tax money each year from the state of Missouri, Jackson County and Kansas City.” Under the leases, each team “can use its half of the fund for a variety of expenses, including stadium staff costs, utilities and repairs.” That fund “can’t be used for player or front-office salaries and benefits, but can be used for ‘event day operations’ at the ballpark.” The leases contain “no prohibition on spending the money for the clubs’ stadium-related payroll taxes" (K.C. STAR, 8/2).

EXPENSE REPORT: K.C. sports radio station WHB-AM’s Kevin Kietzman noted the Royals have “requested nearly $17 million of taxpayer money the past five years from the Kauffman Stadium repair and upkeep fund.” But documents show that only 9% of the money received was actually spent on repairs and maintenance of the stadium. Below is a chart that lists the Royals’ expenses used from the fund (810WHB.com, 7/31).

DATE
EXPENSE
AMOUNT
10/21/08
Security
$287,377
10/22/08
Telephone
$83,698
10/23/08
Supplies
$657,838
10/24/08
Uniforms
$86,301
6/23/09
Salary, Full-Time Associates
$975,309
6/23/09
Payroll, Taxes and Benefits-Full Time
$365,176
6/23/09
Salary, Full-Time Associates
$321,355
6/23/09
Payroll, Taxes and Benefits-Full Time
$133,617
6/23/09
Salary, Part-Time Employees
$2,628,568
6/23/09
Payroll, Taxes-Part Time Employees
$200,320
9/10/09
Security
$236,113
9/10/09
Telephone
$516,696
7/19/12
Stadium Services
$619,322

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