Part of the agreement with the new Wichita baseball team is, apparently, unknown.
In the September 2018 agreement between the City of Wichita and the owners of the new Wichita baseball team, there is this regarding an air travel fund: 1
Section 10.6 Emergency Air Travel Fund. The City and the Team acknowledge and agree that, as a condition of the Pacific Coast League and Minor League Baseball approving the relocation of the Team to Wichita, the City and the Team must establish a fund (the “Travel Fund”) to be used to address some of the concerns raised about accessibility, frequency and ease of travel into and out of Wichita. Each of the City and the Team will be required to make an initial deposit of $100,000 into the Travel Fund, for a total of $200,000, and each Party will be required to replenish the Travel Fund each year in case of claims made against the Travel Fund during the prior year. The terms and conditions for the payout of funds and other issues related to the Travel Fund will be as set forth in a separate agreement among the City, the Team and the Pacific Coast League.
In October the city produced a formal agreement (marked “execution copy”) between the city and the baseball team owners. That document references a travel fund in a general way, saying it is attached as exhibit D. 2
But exhibit D is blank.
I’ve asked the city for the travel fund agreement. It hasn’t been supplied.
We can easily see that Pacific Coast League baseball team owners might seek to make maximum use of the air travel fund. And why not? To them, it’s just asking for free money.
I’m sure the mayor and city officials will tell us to trust them and the team owners. They may cite the term “reasonable.” But this is a mayor that withheld the fact of a side land deal until recently, and now expresses regret for doing so.
This is one more action by the city that breeds distrust. Until we know more, we need to delay any further decisions.
And: Wasn’t years of subsidies and a shiny new airport supposed to fix the problems with air travel in Wichita?
- City of Wichita agenda packet for September 11, 2018, item IV-3 ↩
- “17.9 Emergency Air Travel Fund. The City and the Team acknowledge and agree that, as a condition of the PCL and MiLB approving the relocation of the Team to Wichita, the City and the Team must establish a fund (the “Travel Fund”) to be used to respond to reasonable claims presented by other teams in the PCL relating to accessibility, frequency and ease of travel into and out of Wichita. The Emergency Air Travel Fund Agreement is attached hereto as Exhibit D.” City of Wichita. BALLPARK FACILITY USE AND MANAGEMENT AGREEMENT BETWEEN THE CITY OF WICHITA, KANSAS AND YES2NO, LLC, A MASSACHUETTS LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY Authorized to do business in Kansas. October 23, 2018. Available at https://www.wichita.gov/Stadium/Documents/Facility%20Use%20%20Management%20Agreement%20-%20Final.pdf. ↩