AFL still has outstanding bills in Portland Sept 7, 2017 17:28:59 GMT -8
Post by DiamondThief on Sept 7, 2017 17:28:59 GMT -8
Arena Football League Commissioner Scott C. Butera
September 7, 2017 --
PORTLAND - The Arena Football League still has a list of outstanding bills in the Rose City after having disbanding the Portland Steel at the end of the 2016 season, according to a report from Kyle Iboshi, investigative reporter for KGW News in Portland.
Iboshi's report highlights at least four former Steel staff members/contributors to whom the AFL owe money. The report also includes a legal complaint from SoccerPlex, LLC (dba PDX SportsCenter) requesting $21,174.19 in rental fees, attorneys' fees and other "appropriate" legal fees from the league. The AFL contracted with SoccerPlex March 7, 2016 for the rental of office space, practice facilities and equipment storage for the 2016 season. The league agreed to pay $4,000 per month to use the facilities. That suit has since been settled.
At the time, the AFL had just taken over the operation of the team from Clackamas, Oregon businessman Terry Emmert, who had brought the Portland Thunder into the league in 2013, and played from 2014 to 2015. The Thunder were re-branded as the Steel in March of 2016. The AFL operates under a single-entity business model, meaning that revenue from all team owners in the league's teams is pooled to cover expenses. Once the AFL, under commissioner Scott C. Butera, took control of the Steel, they had no owner. The league was reportedly working with several entities, to buy the team. Those reportedly included Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, but in 2013, Allen had expressed an interest in renting out the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, rather than incur further costs of his own.
in early January 2016, it was reported that Emmert had not signed his league commitment for the 2016 season due to concerns over player health insurance, as well as the league's inability to attract sponsors.
Five teams comprised the AFL in the recently completed 2017 season, including expansion teams in Washington D.C. and Baltimore. Both were owned by Ted Leonsis, who owns the Washington Wizards of the NBA, among other professional sports teams.
The Steel's radio broadcast team of Ron Callan and Brian Perkins are owed $500 and $200, respectively, per Iboshi's report. Equipment manager Andrew Holland is owed, among other fees, reimbursement of nearly $600 for equipment, and team photographer Jon Currier says he is owed $900 for a myriad of photographs he took for the team during the season.
Additionally, the team's uniform provider is among the creditors, as well as Bashor’s Team Athletics in North Portland, which has "unpaid invoices for football pads and gear totaling $2,684." A spokesman for the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter and the Blazers told Iboshi that it does not discuss transactions between the arena and its tenants. It is known that the Steel shared some staff with the Blazers, such as in the areas of ticket sales and the conversion of the arena from an arena football field to a basketball court to a hockey rink for the Portland Winterhawks, and so forth.
The report also mentions the AFL's taking over of the Las Vegas Outlaws two-thirds into their one and only season in 2015 from principle owner Vince Neill. The Motley Crue rocker had unpaid bills for items such as uniforms. Theoretically, the league was to incur those costs at the time of that takeover. However, the uniform provider has not been paid for $13,000 of that team's uniforms for the season, Incidentally, the Outlaws sported only one set of uniforms during that season, rather than the customary minimum home and away uniforms which other teams in the league featured (some teams have also used "alternative" or "event" uniforms in addition to the home and away uniforms).
The Steel's 2016 situation is similar, in which all of the monies owed to the employees and other creditors coming during that season, rather than during the tenure when Emmert owned the team.
The Thunder played in a 14-team league in 2014 to a 12-team league in 2015. The Steel we're one of eight teams in the AFL in 2016. Last October, The Steel were shut down by the AFL, the Arizona Rattlers moved to the Indoor Football League, the Jacksonville Sharks left the AFL for the newly created National Arena Football league, and the Orlando Predators and Los Angeles KISS folded.
In an August 2016 radio interview with Callan and Perkins on 750102.9 The Game, Butera said he wanted to keep the Steel in Portland:
"Clearly, it's everyone's intention that the Steel will be back next year and longer. It's key that finding the ownership group and it's always important to have solid ownership; people who can support the team; really run it the way it needs to be run, and be independent of the league. leagues aren't really meant to run a team. Really, it's an interim step. I wanted, as I said, to preserve that market for our league and obviously to preserve that franchise, and we're working hot and heavy finding a new ownership group. We're very optimistic that will come to fruition in the short term."
Just over two months later, the Steel were gone.
Click to read the full content of Iboshi's report.
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