KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca says County Executive Frank White’s office has been exploring other avenues to fund the stadiums that the Kansas City Royals and Kansas City Chiefs will play in in the future.
On Oct. 2, County Administrator Troy Schulte told FOX4 if there’s a will, there’s a way to get an agreement done to keep the Royals in Jackson County.
The county currently owns both Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums.
“We’ve got some ideas from a county perspective,” Schulte said in an interview with FOX4 that day.
“If we can get the Royals to go along with them, maybe it becomes a lot easier and becomes less about a lease and more about development, which is what the Royals have been talking about that this is a broader development.
“Maybe we treat it like an economic development project and not a traditional lease like we’ve been under for the last 50 years.”
Abarca said he wants more information before he’d vote on approving a 3/8th-cent sales tax extension to go on the ballot for every Jackson County resident to vote on.
If a sales tax extension passed, money generated from it would go to building a new Royals stadium downtown.
Half of that money would also go to the Kansas City Chiefs who have been quieter on what they’d want to do with the money. Over the summer though, Chiefs President Mark Donovan said their preference would be to renovate and upgrade GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium.
“I feel that they are not sharing anything with us and, in fact, keeping us in the dark in a lot of these important discussions.” Abarca said Tuesday, talking about White’s office.
Abarca also said White’s office has withheld documents from county legislators.
“Making us go and meet with them about it, and then we hear leaks about discussions that they’re only involved in,” he continued.
“So I’m very challenged by this very dictatorship-like governing structure where it should be a parity agreement here. We should be making these discussions and negotiations together.”
On Tuesday, White’s office wouldn’t comment. But in his first interview with FOX4 about stadium issues last week, White called the situation transparent.
“That’s the way we keep it on the administrative side. The administrative side’s usually the negotiating side, and then we bring it to them,” White said that day.
“They vet it, and they decide whether they want to go back to the drawing board, whatever it might be. But like I said, it’d be awful difficult to have two negotiating teams at the same time, but we will keep them updated through closed session.”
The county legislature had a closed session Monday to discuss stadium issues. What they specifically talked about that day was not released.
But because of a Most Favored Nation Clause, what the county does for the Royals, they must also do for the Chiefs.
Abarca said it’s his understanding that the Chiefs want to be on the same ballot question as the Royals. As FOX4 found out last week, though, that may be challenging if the two teams don’t want the same sales tax extension length.
Meanwhile, the Royals are also considering a new stadium site in North Kansas City. The team delayed its self-imposed September deadline to announce where it going to build. Royals executives have not released a new timeline for an announcement.