Adding to the Checkered Financial Past in Fort Worth

Forth Worth Cats LogoIn an investigative report, ABC News 8 in Dallas-Fort Worth (TX) looks into claims by employees and vendors that they have not been paid by the indy pro Fort Worth Cats (United League).  When GM Craig Brasfield is confronted on camera by reporter Byron Harris, he defensively responds with “I’m an employee here, not the owner,” and  repeats “Not true” and “Everybody’s paid” when asked about money owed.  Read more and watch news report here.

Scapegoat turned whistleblower Rod MonDragon, who was the Cats’ director of stadium operations when he was thrown under the bus late last month over the Jose Canseco fiasco, was clearly one of the catalysts for the media investigation.  In fact, he recently told us the same story he told News 8.

For most of us in the industry, this is not surprising news.  Independent professional baseball league and team owners Byron Pierce and former congressman John Bryant have a history of spinning the facts, making excuses, blaming others or circumstances, and issuing denials in markets where things have not gone so well going back to the Texas-Louisiana League launched in 1994.  The lack of accountability over the years by this duo is incredible.  In this case, Bryant claims the $40,000 in Brett Bros. baseballs sold to the Cats by local sporting goods dealer Reuben Rice were defective, which is the reason Reuben hasn’t been paid.  If true, the statement by Bryant would suggest Brett Bros. (yes, the same upstanding company owned by Hall of Famer George Brett and his brothers Bobby, John and Ken) and dealer Rice aren’t willing to stand by their product by offering replacements or a refund.  We’re not buying it, particularly since this lack of payment for baseballs goes all the way back to the 2012 season, and Reuben says this is the first time the quality of the product has been challenged.

Another recent example, in early July, Pierce and Bryant pulled the plug on the United League’s first-year Alexandria Aces before the season ended.  The pair have nearly 20 years of expert experience in the minor league baseball arena, yet they knowingly and confidently chose to put a team in partially-condemned Bringhurst Field — a facility and market they are all too familiar with going back to the Texas-Louisiana League’s rendition of the Aces.  Yet, Pierce blamed the team’s quick demise on the “current condition” of Bringhurst Field and, of course, couldn’t resist taking a shot at the Texas Collegiate League team playing there the previous three seasons complicating the market.  Again, no accountability and no responsibility.  The only logical reason we can think of for the United League’s return to Alexandria was to extract a multimillion dollar renovation of Bringhurst or a new ballpark.  If that was the case, the plan failed miserably, as the league couldn’t (or wouldn’t) even foot the bill long enough to fulfill its obligation to the community and fans through the end of the season.

We’ve compiled a laundry list of stories like these going back to the 1990s, and we have to wonder when the clock will finally run out on “survivors” Bryant and Pierce.  Only time will tell.

21 Comments

Filed under Money & Financials

21 responses to “Adding to the Checkered Financial Past in Fort Worth

  1. Dave Kost

    Letter to the Editor was a collaborative between myself and my AGM. It was released at end of season despite all the happenings taking place within the ULB. I am no longer with the San Angelo Colts because ULB ownership made the conscious decision not to pay their employees on-time and in many cases not at all, thus leaving many of us in unemployed status. To think that employees should have to wait 2-3 weeks for a paycheck is poor business practice and one that I cannot be involved with because our employees worked too hard to be cheated out of pay they earned.

    To my knowledge several Colts employees along with players are still owed their final check from last season dating back to August 15th. I have not been paid. Due to financial failures by ULB we did have several payroll checks bounce during the season but I made sure all of those checks were made good with local monies.

    Fortunately the failings of the ULB ownership is not a direct reflection on the San Angelo Colts which are currently being ran by Heath Brown who I brought in to be my AGM. He has been patient in the waiting game to be paid but that has not happened on a regular basis.

    The Colts have been and still are a great form of affordable family entertainment despite the financial struggles of the mother-company Reunion Sports/dba United League Baseball. Heath will do a fine job of conducting a baseball season in 2014 that all of San Angelo will appreciate. Have nothing but good words and best wishes for Heath and everyone that will be involved with the Colts at the local level.

  2. Robert

    This is all over Texas the ball club RGV WIGHTWINGS in Harlingen Tx. owe me over 8000.00 dollars in marketing that was sold to “sponsors” who paid the team. The team manager at the time informed me that he couldn’t do any thing because when money gets put into the bank accounts the money is pulled out right a way so that they can show lack off funds. sounds like a top notch kinda guy huh STILL WONDERING WHEN I AM EVER GOING TO GET PAID. they ignore all the phone calls and emails.

    • 85bears

      If you’re referring to Chris Paterson as the manager of RGV, he is quite the scam artist dating back to his Pecos League days. He’s a company man, asking pecos leaguers to pay $2,000 to be members of their “taxi squad” aka pay to play players that get a guaranteed 12 games and like 20 at bats and no more during a season. In the united league he emails everyone he can seeking $3,500 for the Texas Winter League which has a 60 year old pitcher and players throw 70 mph and get signed for 3 games in the ULB and then cut. And if that’s not enough last year they had a Texas summer league which players paid 3,000 to go tryout for a spot on either RGV or Edinburgh and get there in time for the last two games of the ULB season. Scam scam scam. Not a true professional league.

  3. Marie

    I heard Dave Kost left because they didnt pay anyone and didnt seem to care to pay anyone. I also heard the employees in San Angelo are going to the media sometime this week

    • John Adams

      Let us know when it happens.

    • John adams

      This was in the San Angelo Standard Times on Thursday, August 29, 2013.

      What do you make of this?

      SAN ANGELO, Texas — Dave Kost, San Angelo Colts general manager

      On behalf of the management, staff and team members of the San Angelo Colts, we would like to express our sincere appreciation to Concho Valley baseball fans for their support throughout the 2013 season.

      The Colts also wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to our first-class corporate partners who made it possible for our club to provide quality family entertainment for the best fans in the United League.

      Finally, the support of the local media ranks among the best in all of minor league baseball. From newspaper to radio to television to cable television outlets, the Colts could not ask for a better group of hardworking individuals who certainly represent this community well, to say the least.

      Planning already is underway for the 2014 season, which will mark the 15th anniversary of the San Angelo Colts franchise. With a revamped marketing and promotional plan, the new management staff looks forward to making next season one to remember for Colts fans of all ages.

      • Marie

        Hmmm, i worked there over the summer and my paychecks bounced i still have not gotten paid for the last two weeks as far as i know no one has been paid. Several people i know went and filed with the labor board yesterday. I was also told by Jane in the office that Dave Kost turned in his keys and went back to pennslvania. As far as the article. I dont know.

      • ballparkbiz

        Well, I don’t see Kost’s name listed:

        http://www.sanangelocolts.com/colts/frontoffice/

        If he indeed departed, he chose to leave amicably with a hand off to the “new management.”

        Alan

      • Marie

        Dave Kost Quit because they didnt pay anyone

      • ballparkbiz

        The point is, based on the statement, he chose to leave in a professional manner and not air any dirty laundry in public, if indeed there is dirty laundry. Or someone else wrote the statement.

        Alan

      • Marie

        Im pretty sure he wrote it. Dave Kost is a very upstanding man. He cared about the employees, fans vendors and anyone else that contributed their part to keeping the Colts going through the season. Its a shame Bryant and Pierce arent as upstanding and careing. Its really sad that the ULB has ran off another excellant general manager

      • This was in the ‘letters to the editor’ department, which means it was probably written and sent in a week or two ago, before Mr. Kost left. Pretty standard stuff when running a baseball club, so this wasn’t a press release just sent out or a news item, just a general letter pretty much every GM writes at the end of the season. Who knows how long the paper has been sitting on it, they tend to put these things in when they have room as it’s not all that timely. To me, nothing to read in to this.

      • ballparkbiz

        I didn’t go to the paper, so I couldn’t tell it was in the letters section. You’re probably right.

        Alan

  4. Texan22

    After having dealings with this organization I have determined that if Bryan, Pierce or Brasfield are talking…they are lying. This scandal is just beginning. It’s goes much deeper than people not getting paid. The IRS and the Attorney Generals office should be knocking on the Cats door. There is a lot behind it!

  5. Marie

    Yes, they are unbelievable. They have gotten away with this too many times. Its about time someone exposes them for what they are. I dont know you can not pay your employees. They are what kept your teams playing a made it fun for the fans. The players they dont make much money and to not pay them its just not rwite either.

  6. Lea

    Same thing happening with San Angelo Colts also owned by the Pierce Bryan duo. Players and Staff have not been paid for the last two weeks of the season, vendors and utilities not paid. Vendors with lawsuits. Pay checks from previous pay periods being returned as insufficient funds. Draining out bank accounts so we now have returned checks..

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