Are the Kansas City Chiefs Misusing Taxpayer Money?

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After Deadspin picked up a Kansas City radio station’s report that the Royals were spending taxpayer money meant for renovations on everything but renovations, a tipster informed them that the Chiefs were just as, if not even more, guilty of passing on the costs of running the team to the taxpayers of Jackson County.

Both the Chiefs and the Royals get reimbursed through a fund for repairs, maintenance, management, and operations (RMMO) expenses. And both teams are taking advantage of an amendment (that wasn’t part of the original agreement voters approved) that allows the team to get reimbursed for “event day operations.”

Deadspin reports:

And when you look at what the Chiefs have made reimbursement requests for this year, according to the info sent to us by our tipster, it gets even worse: The Chiefs have asked for more than $9 million since May 25, with just $546,000—a paltry six percent—going toward maintenance and repair. That money, the tipster said, has been approved by the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, which oversees the operations of both stadiums, though it hasn’t yet been disbursed.

So the Chiefs have asked taxpayers to pick up the tab on approximately $18 million in expenses in the last five years. And what have they been doing with that money? How about management and operations expenses that include nearly $11 million in payroll costs—$2.6 million in 2007-08, $3.2 million in 2008-09, and $5 million in 2010-11. Now, the tipster cautioned, the reimbursed payroll expenses cannot be used to pay players, since the money is supposed to be for management costs. But what’s reimbursed could be used to pay, say, members of the team’s front office, including GM Scott Pioli. The documents do not show exactly which management personnel has been paid what from the RMMO fund, however.

So Jackson County taxpayers are subsidizing not one, but two, professional sports franchises and ensuring that the owners of both teams make out like bandits. We may have a new challenger for worst stadium deal ever.

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