Scott Remington, attorney for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, has responded to attorney Bob Kerrigan’s letter attacking the team and its owners over their agreements with the Community Maritime Park. Kerrigan is an advisor of Mayor Ashton Hayward, donating $2000 through a series of corporations run out of his 400 Government Street office. His letter was widely circulated to the city council, CMPA board and those opposed to the maritime park.
Here are some of the highlights in Remington’s words. The entire letter is at the end:
Mr. Kerrigan’s six page letter is as difficult to follow as it is full of inaccurate statements and innuendo—most of which are slanted against, or directed toward, Quint Studer and Northwest Florida Professional Baseball, LLC d/b/a the “Pensacola Blue Wahoos.”
First and foremost, Mr. Kerrigan spreads considerable ink explaining his analyses of the financing and bonded indebtedness utilized to construct the Community Maritime Park. He describes the $58 Million Dollar bond obligation as the “new baseball stadium bonds” leading the reader to believe that this was the cost of the Multi-Use Facility and that the stadium was intended to service the bond debt.
However, Mr. Kerrigan may not be aware that the stadium revenue was never intended to service the bond debt and that, in fact, the stadium cost was not $58 million; rather, the entire construction budget for the stadium was approximately $12,900,000.00.
In addition to this amount, Quint & Rishy Studer donated over $2,000,000.00, to the CMPA, for additions and enhancements to the facility.
The remainder of the bonded indebtedness was used for environmental remediation of the site, construction of park and festival infrastructure, seawalls,dredging, storm water retention areas, roads, sidewalks, DeVilliers Plaza, Professional Fees and construction of the Skip & Martha Hunter Amphitheater.
The Final Approved Sworn Construction Budget for the entire project can be accessed through the CMPA. A pdf of the budget is attached hereto for easy reference. Here: SharpComLit@cphlaw.com_20130327_150538
Using misinformation about the cost of the stadium as a backdrop, Mr. Kerrigan next criticizes the existence of the CMPA board suggesting that it has “no concern” with repaying the bonded indebtedness. Kerrigan may not be aware of the CMPA’s fiduciary duty to make the park
Kerrigan may not realize that the financial circumstances inherited by the CMPA with the exodus of UWF from the project have created tremendous problems for the CMPA.
Kerrigan stops short of explaining why the current lease revenue is insufficient to pay the ongoing maintenance of the Community Maritime Park. For instance, Mr. Kerrigan may not understand that the CMPA was never intended to pay for the construction and ongoing maintenance of the amphitheater; rather, this was an expense the CMPA involuntarily inherited from UWF.
Part of the consideration for leasing Parcel 8 to UWF for $1.00 a year was the University’s agreement to construct and maintain the amphitheater. This is also the reason that the CMPA did not originally budget anything to construct the amphitheater. Had UWF maintained its commitments to the park, these expenses would never have been thrust upon the CMPA.
While the Blue Wahoos are responsible for a large portion of maintaining the stadium under the Use Agreement, it is unclear what justification exists for requiring the Blue Wahoos to make up for the shortcomings of other entities and compel them to contribute toward the maintenance of the amphitheater, the City’s Private Improvement Parcels, or other public elements of the Community Maritime Park.
Much of Kerrigan’s ire is directed at Quint Studer and the Blue Wahoos’ rights to utilize the Community Maritime Stadium to play Double-A Baseball Games under the July 20, 2012 Use Agreement.
Mr. Kerrigan asserts that the Use Agreement is actually not with the Blue Wahoos but rather “[t]he lease is with a shell entity.” This bold statement is false. Why Mr. Kerrigan asserts such a statement is puzzling.
The actual party to the Use Agreement with the CMPA is Northwest Florida Professional Baseball, LLC. (hereafter “NFPB” or the “Blue Wahoos”). Falsely calling NFPB a “shell entity” leads Mr. Kerrigan to the conclusion that there is no security, or collateral, protecting the CMPA from a default in the Use Agreement by NFPB. As such, he makes the statement that “[h]ad the [Use Agreement] been with the Double-A franchise team, a default by the team would have the collateral of the team value to pay the default.”
Mr. Kerrigan is incorrect about the ownership status of the Double-A team, i.e., the Blue Wahoos. The legal owner of record for the franchise is “Northwest Florida Professional Baseball, LLC.” The sole members of this LLC are Quint and Rishy Studer. This should not come as a shock or surprise to anyone who has read the Use Agreement as this fact was negotiated and disclosed as part of the Use Agreement. Recitals E & H of the Use Agreement state:
NFPB owns a class “AA” minor league baseball team known as the “Carolina Mudcats,” an affiliated franchise of the Cincinnati Reds Organization, referred to herein as the “Club”. . . . .
Upon execution and approval of this Use Agreement and upon receipt of all necessary approvals of the Cincinnati Reds, Major League Baseball, and Minor League Baseball, the Carolina Mudcats will be re-named the “Pensacola Blue Wahoos” and will be re-located to Pensacola in 2012.
A copy of the actual Use Agreement may be viewed at: http://www.cityofpensacola.com/maritimepark.
After reading the Use Agreement, if Mr. Kerrigan still has reason to believe that NFPB is not the owner of the Blue Wahoos, he should produce evidence or verifiable proof supporting his statement.
Here is the entire letter: Response to RGK (A1318222).