By Kevin Kietzman
The Kansas City Royals have requested nearly $17 million of taxpayer money the past five years from the Kauffman Stadium repair and upkeep fund but spent only 9% of the money received on actual repairs and maintenance to the stadium, according to documents obtained by Sports Radio 810 WHB.
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.
Calls to JCSCA Chairman Beto Lopez and Royals President Dan Glass were not returned.
Jackson County officials meet and vote Monday, August 6 to nominate Lopez for a new term as Chairman and then send it to Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. Missouri Governors, by law, appoint all members of the JCSCA.
"Their (JCSCA) job is to be a watchdog for the taxpayers and all they're doing is rubber stamping," said a source close to the Authority. "Stamp, stamp, stamp."
Any RMMO Fund disbursements to the Royals under the Kauffman Stadium Lease Agreement requires "reasonable written approval" by the Sports Complex Authority yet the Authority approved over $4 million in salaries and payroll and another $700,000 for the Royals to pay taxes. The RMMO Fund was originally pitched to voters as an account that would collect $8.5 million per year and bear interest over time to accumulate large sums to fund major Kauffman Stadium repairs and maintenance through 2030. The original Kauffman Stadium lease presented to voters did not contain any provisions for "Event Day Operations" but the Royals negotiated it into the current lease dated January 24, 2006, three months before the election. That three-word inclusion into the lease has been worth millions to the team.
The JCSCA has also been cited by Missouri State Auditor Thomas Schweich as recently as December of 2011 for poor record keeping and accounting practices over several years. The audit also concluded the Sports Authority conducted closed door meetings "which were not allowable under the Sunshine Law."
"There is a culture of looseness that exists at the Authority," the source added.
JCSCA Executive Director Jim Rowland did not immediately return a call concerning the findings of the audit.
Records show the Royals needed only $1,540,390 for actual maintenance and repairs since 2008 with the biggest expenses being supplies, Hall of Fame reconfiguration and waterproofing. The remaining RMMO Fund balance as of July 1, 2012 was around $5.6 million
Below is a list of several Royals expenses the JCSCA paid out that are not Repairs and Maintenance to Kauffman Stadium.
|6/23/09||Salary, Full-Time Associates||$975,309|
|Payroll, Taxes and Benefits-Full Time||$365,176|
|Salary, Full-Time Associates||$321,355|
|Payroll, Taxes and Benefits-Full Time||$133,617|
|Salary, Part-Time Employees||$2,618,568|
|Payroll Taxes-Part Time Employees||$200,320|
|Professional Services-First Aid||$241,931|
|Utilities, Telephone, Cable TV||$2,291,385|
|Day of Game Security||$247,528|
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