Earlier tonight, we told you a Kansas City radio station had acquired documents it says show that the Royals were using tax dollars from a fund ostensibly set up for maintenance and repairs at Kauffman Stadium for purposes other than maintenance and repairs. A tipster in Kansas City has since sent word, with numbers, that indicates the Chiefs are doing basically the same thing next door at Arrowhead Stadium.
The tipster explained that both stadiums generate tax revenues that are put into a fund that also draws money from a county sales tax and contributions from the city and the state. That fund is used first to pay debt service on the $500 million bond floated for the recent upgrades to both Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums. The teams then get reimbursed by the fund for repairs, maintenance, management, and operations (RMMO) expenses. The idea was pitched with the understanding that most of that RMMO money would be used for maintenance and repair. But both the Royals and Chiefs aren't doing that; they instead appear to be taking advantage of an amendment added to the stadiums' lease agreement in January 2006 that allows the RMMO funds to be used for "event day operations."
According to the documents obtained by WHB radio, the Royals used just nine percent of the $17 million in RMMO funds they've requested in the last five years for maintenance and repair, with some of the money being used to cover payroll taxes. The documents sent to us by our tipster show that the Chiefs have used just 33 percent of the $27.3 million they asked to have reimbursed during the same time period for maintenance and repair. What that means is that both franchises are using most of the taxpayer money they're getting to reduce the cost of running their teams.
And when you look at what the Chiefs have made reimbursement requests for this year, according to the info sent to us by our tipster, it gets even worse: The Chiefs have asked for more than $9 million since May 25, with just $546,000—a paltry six percent—going toward maintenance and repair. That money, the tipster said, has been approved by the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, which oversees the operations of both stadiums, though it hasn't yet been disbursed.
So the Chiefs have asked taxpayers to pick up the tab on approximately $18 million in expenses in the last five years. And what have they been doing with that money? How about management and operations expenses that include nearly $11 million in payroll costs—$2.6 million in 2007-08, $3.2 million in 2008-09, and $5 million in 2010-11. Now, the tipster cautioned, the reimbursed payroll expenses cannot be used to pay players, since the money is supposed to be for management costs. But what's reimbursed could be used to pay, say, members of the team's front office, including GM Scott Pioli. The documents do not show exactly which management personnel has been paid what from the RMMO fund, however.
Other expenses for which the Chiefs have requested reimbursement since 2007 include $2.17 million for utilities and telephone service this year, $824,639 for supplies this year, $396,589 for payroll taxes in 2010-11, $231,209 for payroll taxes in 2008-09, and $208,771 in payroll taxes in 2007-08. That's right: The Kansas City Chiefs have stuck taxpayers with the bill for more than $800,000 in taxes since 2007.