Monday, November 20, 2017
News Roundup

Bill Edwards sues baseball commission over Al Lang Stadium

RECOMMENDED READING


ST. PETERSBURG — The fight between businessman Bill Edwards and the nonprofit St. Petersburg Baseball Commission over a popular downtown sports facility could be headed for a courtroom.

Edwards filed a lawsuit against the baseball commission on Wednesday over Al Lang Stadium, the home turf for Edwards' Tampa Bay Rowdies soccer franchise.

Edwards has spent months clashing with the baseball commission and the city over conditions at the downtown facility.

In the complaint, Edwards says not only has the baseball commission not kept up its end of a license agreement when it comes to maintenance, but also implies the commission may be shortchanging the soccer team on ticket sales.

Edwards, who could not be reached for comment, is seeking damages in excess of $15,000.

Jeffrey Adams, an attorney for the St. Petersburg Baseball Commission, said problems didn't start until after Edwards bought the team in December.

"It's unfortunate that it's come to this," he said. "Until the change in ownership, everything was fine. From the very beginning, (new ownership) indicated they didn't like the contract and they couldn't live with the terms."

Though the city owns Al Lang Stadium, the baseball commission manages the facility as well as the Walter Fuller Sports Complex on the west side of town.

One of Edwards' complaints, about the condition of the playing fields at Al Lang, is being addressed right now. Last month, in response to Edwards' complaints, the city approved spending $250,000 to renovate the turf.

Adams said the allegations in the lawsuit are wrong. He especially took exception to the complaint about ticket revenue.

"I don't know how they could make those allegations," he said. "They don't have any facts because the facts aren't there."

According to the suit, the Rowdies have a contract with the baseball commission and pay $7,800 per match to the commission as a license fee. The baseball commission, in turn, has a contract with a third-party ticket agency, Extreme­Tix, which distributes ticket revenue to the team.

"Not surprisingly, information and documentation has not been forthcoming, leading to an inference that the Defendant has in fact removed monies due to the Plaintiff, characterized as surcharges, fees or by other euphemisms," the lawsuit says.

Adams says the real problem is that Edwards views the baseball commission, which got the Al Lang contract in 2010, as an "impediment." He believes Edwards wants to run the stadium.

"My clients helped bring the Rowdies to St. Petersburg and worked hard to be a success," he said. "The Rowdies have been playing on that field for three years. Nobody said the field wasn't good enough. The Rowdies renewed their deal. The city hasn't complained or told us there was something wrong. … What happened is we get a new owner who has his own ideas."

Edwards has made no secret about how he feels about the commission. Amid talk of the turf renovations this spring, he also revealed he would like a shot at the Walter Fuller contract.

In June, the council extended the baseball commission's current management there until July 2015 but simultaneously will accept bids for the contract. The baseball commission has the Al Lang contract through September 2016.

Earlier this week, during an appearance at the Suncoast Tiger Bay club, Edwards said he would like a new waterfront stadium for the soccer team.

Edwards called council members on Wednesday to tell them he was suing the commission.

"I had just hoped they would work it out," council member Steve Kornell said. "It's unfortunate it had to come to this, a lawsuit."

Contact Kameel Stanley at [email protected] or (727) 893-8643. Follow @cornandpotatoes.

Comments
Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

Charles Manson, cult leader of gory killings in 1969, has died

LOS ANGELES — Cult leader Charles Manson, whose followers killed actress Sharon Tate and six others in 1969, died Sunday night. He was 83. A spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections said Manson died of natural causes. The gory slaying...
Updated: 15 minutes ago
USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

USF, UCF contribute to a first in football poll

The new Associated Press football poll produced some Florida history Sunday.For the first time, UCF and USF are both ranked — and Florida State and Florida are both unranked — entering their respective season-ending grudge matches this weekend.The No...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Youth choir trains voices of confidence

Youth choir trains voices of confidence

 
Updated: 3 hours ago

Stolen car crashes in St. Pete, leaving passenger, 15, with life threatening injuries

Two boys in a stolen car struck a dip in the roadway and crashed into a tree, leaving the 15-year-old passenger with life-threatening injuries, St. Petersburg police said.The crash occurred about 11:25 a.m. Sunday as the car sped west on 11th Avenue ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

Lightning’s rare loss produces reality check

TAMPA — Jon Cooper stood at the podium late Saturday night to address the media after a regulation loss for only the third time this season."Let’s be honest," he said, "we’ve had one hell of a start."The loss, he added, was frustrating, even when you...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

Figures from FSU case enter latest allegation against Jameis Winston

MIAMI GARDENS — The case of Jameis Winston and a female Uber driver in Arizona took more twists Sunday, with Winston getting some level of corroboration, and his unnamed accuser retaining a familiar, high-profile attorney.Eagles cornerback Ronald Dar...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Country artist Mel Tillis, who traced success to Plant City youth, dead at 85

Before Mel Tillis achieved stardom, writing songs recorded by hundreds of Nashville artists and embracing the stutter that became his trademark, he was a young man fresh out of the Air Force struggling to land a spot in a Plant City talent show.Eyes ...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Report: Florida rarely punishes doctors sued for malpractice

FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida doctors are rarely punished by state regulators even after they are sued for malpractice, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported Sunday. The Florida Department of Health reviewed nearly 24,000 resolved state and federal law...
Updated: 4 hours ago
10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

10 African-Americans named Rhodes scholars, most ever

Associated PressThe latest group of U.S. Rhodes scholars includes 10 African-Americans — the most ever in a single Rhodes class — as well as a transgender man and four students from colleges that had never had received the honor before. The Rhodes Tr...
Updated: 4 hours ago