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City of Bellevue, World Baseball Village at odds over canceled activities

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BELLEVUE, Ne (FOX42KPTM) - Playing baseball during the College World Series was something dozens of young athletes were looking forward to back in June, however, a severe storm canceled things at Bellevue's World Baseball Village. Now, dozens of baseball teams from across the country are looking for refunds.

"I just feel sad because we didn't get to play baseball," said Evan Jackson, a young athlete. "I'd been waiting for this for like three months."

As parents wait for whatever might happen next, the World Baseball Village is now offering up a reply. Management says the village has made repeated requests to the City of Bellevue to refund all or a portion of its lease payment. The village says this will allow it to issue refunds. That still has not happened.

After the reply from Baseball Village management, the city attorney for Bellevue fired back. He says he thinks the village is finger pointing and is lacking in ownership and responsibility.

"I feel bad for everyone that's involved," said Pat Sullivan, the city attorney.

Sullivan argues it was the World Baseball Village that messed up. It was supposed to have insurance, which could have been used to reimburse team fees. Sullivan says the village did not have that insurance.

"Specifically in our management agreement, we require them to carry business continuation or continuity insurance."

Sullivan adds it could be a while before this entire issue gets straightened out. He told FOX 42 News Wednesday the city will not offer up any kind of refunds to the World Baseball Village because of the storm. He says it's the responsibility of the village to give money back to the baseball teams that were going to play on the field.

The following is the full statement from the World Baseball Village:

Dear Champions Village Teams:

I would like to update you on the status of this matter. In order to

do, we believe some background information may be helpful:

· The City of Bellevue owns the field complex used by World

Baseball Village (“WBV”). The field complex consists of 6 playing

fields, a concession stand, bathrooms, offices and retail area. WBV

operates the field complex pursuant to a Facilities Management Agreement

entered into between WBV and the City of Bellevue. Pursuant to such

Agreement, WBV is required to pay to the City of Bellevue lease payments

of $250,000.00 annually.

· On or about June 1, 2017 WBV paid the City of Bellevue the

required lease payment of $250,000.00.

· On June 16, 2017 a tornado struck the Champions Village

rendering the field complex unusable.

· The field complex continues to be entirely unusable. WBV has

made repeated requests of the City of Bellevue to refund all or a

portion of the lease payment to WBV in order to allow WBV to issue

refunds to the tournament participants.

· During the pendency of discussion with the City regarding

this issue, the City of Bellevue issued a public statement in which it

appears to indicate they will be providing no such refund. Until such

time as the City of Bellevue issues such a refund, should they elect to

do so, WBV is unable to issue any refunds to the tournament

participants.

· To date, the City of Bellevue has failed to make any repairs

to the field complex and therefore the field complex remains unusable.

As a result, World Baseball Village has been forced to cancel any and

all additional tournaments scheduled for this summer and will not be

able to schedule any tournaments in the future.

We sincerely apologize for the lack of communication since the

cancellation of the tournaments. We have been working diligently and in

good faith to try to find a solution with the City of Bellevue to allow

for refunds to the tournament participants. In keeping the teams’

best interests in mind, we did not want to frustrate any of these

negotiations by issuing any premature statements.

We certainly understand your frustration. Please be assured we have

been using absolute best efforts to attempt and find an amicable

resolution to this matter for all parties. Thank you for your patience.

Sincerely,

World Baseball Village


The following is the full statement from Bellevue City Attorney Pat Sullivan:

"It is unfortunate that WBV who operates the tournament as its own tournament in which it is entitled to all proceeds as well as the risk of such enterprise is trying to blame the city for its failed business. Like you the city is trying to figure out how to absorb the broken promises and lost expectations of WBV. The city anticipates losing over $2.5M on this venture let alone the promised tax revenues that never came to fruition. WBV was given concessions on its original agreement several times in an effort to keep it operating but in the end it failed.

WBV was required to have business continuation insurance which it failed to do, insurance which could have been used for reimbursement of team fees.

This situation is analogous to a restaurant that has gone out of business and now the gift cardholders want the landlord of the restaurant to pay back the cardholders. The risk of loss was allocated to WBV under the management contract and this is its responsibility.

The management agreement provides that the city upon request to make repairs has 45 days to respond. The damage was severe but adjusters were on the scene in just a few days and it took several days to respond due to the magnitude of the damage and the uniqueness of the facility. Nevertheless, the city did respond that it would proceed with rebuilding if that is what WBV wanted the city to do. WBV has the right if we did not respond within 45 days to make its own repairs and use the cost as a credit toward the management fee. So, the city was in full compliance.

The fact that WBV is pointing the finger at the City shows a lack of responsibility and ownership on WBV's part and is incredulous given the efforts by the city to help WBV be successful."

- Patrick J. Sullivan

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