Big League Dreams Booted From Gilbert; Legal Battle Remains

Published: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 5:00am
Updated: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 - 5:05am
(Photo courtesy of Gilbert)
Big League Dreams was built in 2007.

Gilbert booted Big League Dreams from the town’s Elliot District Park, but a legal battle between the two parties continues.

Gilbert’s Town Council voted on Sept. 21 to end its contract with the Elliot District park ball fields operator. The item was passed as part of the consent agenda without a separate discussion.

“Continuing to partner with Big League Dreams is a risk with little reward,” said Mayor Jenn Daniels in a statement posted online. “This facility needs a different team; an operator with common sense, motivation, and integrity.”

A May 2016 report from the town included in the legal case, found 190 issues with the fields from peeling paint to rust and rotting wood. The complex included soccer, softball and baseball fields modeled after historic Major League Baseball parks.

“The town has lost confidence is willing and capable of operating the park to the town’s safety standards,” Gilbert attorney Robert Grasso said. “Second, the town believes that Big League Dreams prior conduct has lead to millions of dollars of problems that Big League Dreams is unwilling to pay for.”

The $40 million park was built 10 years ago, and the town settled with the builders for numerous construction defects in 2015.

Big League Dreams spokesman Chuck Jelloian said the company would still like to re-open the fields.

“We still maintain there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t get the fields open tomorrow on a rotational basis,” Jelloian said.

RELATED: Closure Of Gilbert's Big League Dreams Ballpark A Blow To East Valley Athletics

Even though the town axed its contract with Big League Dreams, two lawsuits continue to wend through Maricopa County Superior Court.

“The town is claiming that Big League Dreams failed to do things that they are obligated to do and Big League Dreams is claiming that the town failed to do things and they want money from each other,” Grasso said, simplifying hundreds of pages of legal documents.

Big League Dreams asked Gilbert for $10,221,966.89 to settle their case, while the city contends it has lost revenue from the park’s poor management.

Right now, both parties are gathering information to defend their positions in court. Grasso estimates the lawsuit will not be settled for at least a year.

If you like this story, Donate Now!