On Tuesday, Sports Radio 810 WHB in Kansas City shone a spotlight on the Kansas City Royals’ abuse of taxpayer funds.
Remember that the Royals received $250 million for renovations to Kauffman Stadium (at a time when the team itself was only valued at $239 million). That money was supposed to go to, you know, renovating stuff.
Well, it turns out that the Royals have spent only 9% of the $17 million they’ve received so far on actual renovations. According to 810′s Kevin Kietzman:
The Royals have received at least $12.7 million from taxpayers that was approved by the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority as part of the RMMO provision of the team’s lease with the county and spent it on full and part time employee salaries, security, cable tv, first aid, utilities, telephones and even payroll taxes. By using the money for payroll taxes, the team literally collected taxpayer money to pay their own taxes. The Sports Authority approved the expenses and operates separately from Jackson County government.
Apparently, the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority has been rubber-stamping whatever the Royals want, sometimes behind closed doors. The two entities obviously have a cozy relationship — can you say premium tickets?
So some of the fault lies with the JCSCA, but it’s more evidence that professional sports in America too often serve to put taxpayer funds into the pockets of team owners.