Friday, August 12, 2016

Missouri Comets Lawsuit Brings Out Sexually Suggestive FC Kansas City Emails

Things aren't so rosy right now for Kansas City's other professional soccer owners, the Likens family and Brian Budzinski, owners of NWSL side FC Kansas City and the MASL's Missouri Comets. Last night the Kansas City Business Journal posted an article about a lawsuit that Budzinski has brought against his fellow owners, seeking $3.75 million in damages. Budzinski claims in the lawsuit that all decisions require a 75 percent approval by management which includes Budzinski, Brad Likens and Greg Likens (sons of Chris Likens who is also an owner of FC Kansas City). In the lawsuit though Budzinski says that he has been kept out of key negotiations like the Comets league, arena lease, and employment agreements with players.

In a letter exchanged between the two groups' lawyers, it said the Comets had borrowed $3.17 million to continue operating the club, a decent amount of money for the minor league Comets. With that amount of money lost, it's a wonder that the Comets have lasted as long as they have, and points to the continued struggles that indoor soccer have had since it's heydays in the 80's.

Budzinski has been the more visible of the owners, having taken over color commentary duty on the Comets broadcasts when the team is at home.  While he's done well in the roll, it's certainly weird to have one of the owners as part of the broadcast team for games.

The larger issue facing the owners, at least in the public eye was mentioned at the end of the article, and expanded upon in an article today on Excelle Sports. Budzinski claims that the Likens had used the Comets' computers and servers (and by extension FCKC's computers and servers) to transmit sexually suggestive pictures of female soccer players, and references to "riding them like horses."

The Excelle Sports article includes screen shots of the alleged emails, provided by an anonymous source, a former employee at National Holdings, another company the Likens own. Budzinski for his part is a recipient of the emails in the Excelle Sports story, but does not respond. He was concerned that the actions could have a negative effect on the Comets (and probably FC Kansas City as well).

While the KC Business Journal focuses on the Comets portion of the lawsuit, the FC Kansas City stuff in there will be the stuff that gets people talking, especially with the emails from Excelle Sports. It doesn't quite rise to the level of magicJack owner Dan Borislow in the WPS, but depending on what continues to come out from the lawsuit it certainly could put the NWSL and by extension US Soccer in a tough spot and require a response. The league and federation has to be hoping that Sporting Club would be willing or interested in stepping up and taking over the NWSL club. The club already runs the Swope Park Rangers out of their Swope Park complex, adding could certainly make some sense for the club.

No comments: