City gives Rockies’ payments to JUCO
Annual payments of $25,000 from the Grand Junction Rockies that were going to go to the city of Grand Junction had been intended for Grand Junction Baseball, the parent company of the Alpine Bank Junior College World Series, city officials decided.
Grand Junction city councilors Wednesday night voted 7-0 to approve a change to the contract’s wording to specify that the funds go to the Junior College World Series, known as JUCO.
According to City Manager Rich Englehart, JUCO chairman Jamie Hamilton had long been in negotiations with minor league baseball teams over the years in an attempt to recruit a team to Grand Junction.
After finding correspondence from former city manager Laurie Kadrich about the negotiations with the Rockies, it appears Kadrich told JUCO officials the city would collect the funds and pass the money along to them, City Attorney John Shaver said.
“We believe it to be a promise that was made,” Shaver told councilors.
Neither Englehart, Shaver nor Hamilton was privy to the negotiation stage of the contract between the city and the Rockies, Shaver said.
The annual payment was negotiated for 15 years, for a total of $375,000.
Englehart said he further believed that the contract should be amended because Grand Junction Baseball has committed to paying $300,000 per year for the next 25 years to defray the costs of the Suplizio Field stadium renovation.
“Without that commitment the facilities would not have been renovated,” a staff report states in part.
Having the city take the payments would eventually create a conflict with the manner in which the renovation was funded, through certificates of participation. The city would be in violation of the tax-exempt funding model.
Councilor Tom Kenyon said he wanted the contract’s wording to be clear that the annual payment go to JUCO.
“I think we made a mistake receiving the money and directing it to us,” he said. “It’s not to our benefit to receive the payment. It’s nobody’s fault, but we have to fix it.”
Grand Junction had not received the first of the $25,000 payments as city officials were working to straighten out the contract, Shaver said.