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updated: 2/24/2011 4:58 PM

Sale of Schaumburg Flyers hitting snags in offseason

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  • Schaumburg Flyers managing partner Rich Ehrenreich sits outside one of the suites at Alexian Field.

      Schaumburg Flyers managing partner Rich Ehrenreich sits outside one of the suites at Alexian Field.
    Daily Herald file photo

 
 

Schaumburg Flyers managing partner Rich Ehrenreich Monday explained the reasons for delay in his planned sale of the baseball team, while expressing confidence that the Flyers will play in 2011 whether a sale occurs in the offseason or not.

"The buyers have run into some challenges, which is not unknown in 2010," Ehrenreich said.

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He emphasized that all these challenges are internal business ones as opposed to any form of external opposition from the Northern League or other interested parties.

In June, Adriano Pedrelli of Glenview was announced as president and CEO of a group of investors interested in buying the Flyers from Ehrenreich's Schaumburg Professional Baseball LLC.

A closing was expected in July, but has not yet occurred.

Ehrenreich said he is now negotiating with more than two potential buyers of the team - of which Pedrelli's group is still one - but that none are a clear front-runner.

Pedrelli could not be reached for comment Monday.

The Schaumburg Flyers, under Ehrenreich, are currently struggling with some financial issues that were to be resolved at the sale of the team.

Chief among these are $922,264.33 in unpaid rent, utilities and overdue interest the team still owes the village of Schaumburg and Schaumburg Park District for its use of Alexian Field. Of this amount, $601,828.92 is purely rent, according to the village.

The unpaid fees stem from portions of every year since 2007, Schaumburg Village Manager Ken Fritz said.

Fritz added that, for the time being at least, it has been more beneficial for the village and park district to expect repayment through a sale of the team than to seek compensation through legal means.

Such legal means have been employed, though, by Bartlett-based Parley Promotions, which sued the Flyers in July for nonpayment of $22,230 of promotional merchandise for the 2010 season.

Despite the overhanging bills, Ehrenreich said the Flyers' 2011 season is not dependent on his sale of the team.

"It's a certainty," Ehrenreich said. "We're playing in 2011 and well beyond. Anything else is not an option."

Ehrenreich and his partners were the founding owners of the Schaumburg Flyers when the team began playing at Alexian Field in 1999. But in 2009, he announced both his intention to sell the team and to start a new Northern League team - the Zion-based Lake County Fielders - with "Field of Dreams" star Kevin Costner.

The Fielders began playing during the 2010 season while Ehrenreich still co-owned both teams.

Brian Costin, a declared mayoral candidate in Schaumburg who opposes the village's involvement in what he believes should be free-market enterprises, accused the village last month of letting the amount the team owes taxpayers reach about $1.2 million as of Aug. 1.

Costin said his research of village documents showed that the village regularly looked the other way on money the baseball team owes - particularly on the 12 percent annual late fees required by contract.

Fritz, however, said Costin's math and assumptions were wrong, misunderstanding the differing financial obligations between the village and park district and when and how the late charge is applied. An offer to waive late fees had been on the table only if the team paid the village and park district in full when the sale of the team was announced in the summer, Fritz said.

Costin said any flaws in his calculations or assumptions aren't the point.

"How many years in a row does one have to be delinquent before one says maybe we should be finding another manager for this venue?" Costin asked.

The village of Schaumburg and Schaumburg Park District expect to retire their debt on Alexian Field in 2013. After that, further rent payments will be devoted to maintenance and other operations, Fritz said.

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