KANSAS CIT, Mo. -- A source at the Jackson County Sports Authority denied claims that the Kansas City Royals and Chiefs are improperly spending taxpayer money.
The Royals recently submitted a request asking taxpayers to reimburse the club for more than $4.2-million in expenses for 2011.
The 2006 lease signed by the Royals and Chiefs established a taxpayer fund to compensate the teams for repairs, maintenance, management and operations of the stadiums.
It's those last two: Management and Operations, that some say shouldn't involve taxpayers.
Sports authority documents show bases at Kauffman Stadium cost more than $1,000. Tarps for home plate, the mound and the bullpen cost another $1,500. For Royals owner David Glass, it's all priceless because he doesn't want to pay for any of it. He's passed the bill on to those who pay sales taxes in Jackson County.
An official at the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority Executive says bases and tarps are legitimate operations expenses eligible for reimbursement under the team's lease with the county.
Taxpayers also pay the water bill, the telephone bill and a cable t.v. bill that totals $96,000 a year. Our source says he doesn't like the fact that taxpayers are being charged $247,000 a year for security during baseball games and more than $99,000 for office cleaning. But he says there's nothing the sports authority can do about it.
The official blames Jackson County leaders who negotiated the lease, which allows both the Chiefs and Royals to seek taxpayer reimbursement for virtually all of their costs except player contracts and executive salaries.
The sports authority source says terms of the lease, including the provision for taxpayer payments to cover operations and management, were available for anyone to scrutinize before voters approved the stadium renovation package.
In the Royals July request for $4.2 million in taxpayer money, only about $1.3 million might be considered repair and maintenance expenses if you include things like carpet cleaning and office janitorial services.
The official also claims the sports authority has prevented taxpayers from paying for some expenses. In one instance, the Chiefs withdrew a request to have taxpayers pay for uniforms for the team's cheerleaders. This despite the possibility that lawyers may have determined the uniforms to be a legitimate operations expense.
Both the Royals and Chiefs did not respond to FOX 4's requests for comment on this issue early in the day on Wednesday, however a statement from the Chiefs was emailed Wednesday night. It read: "The Kansas City Chiefs have diligently honored every aspect of our lease agreement. We will continue to operate in full compliance with the lease and in cooperation with the County leadership, the Sports Authority and the Kansas City Royals to ensure that the Truman Sports Complex remains a first-class sports and entertainment venue."
A statement released Thursday by the Royals said: "The Kansas City Royals have consistently operated under the terms of our lease agreement with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority and the County. The Royals have prided themselves on the working relationship with the JCSCA and the County prior to, during and since the stadium renovations and would not have had such a successful Major League Baseball All-Star experience without that level of cooperation. Both the Royals and Kansas City Chiefs take a lot of pride in calling these great stadiums their respective homes and will continue to work closely with the County and Sports Authority for years to come."
A spokesman for Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders declined to comment, saying the sports authority operates independently from Jackson County government.
To see specific Royals requests for taxpayer reimbursement click on the links below.
- Request No. 1 for Disbursement from the Royals RMMO Fund
- Request No. 2 for Disbursement from the Royals RMMO Fund
- Request No. 3 for Disbursement from the Royals RMMO Fund
- Request for Disbursement from the Royals Account of the Repair, Maintenance, Management & Operations Fund