Rippers Respond to Liquor License IssueJune 21, 2012 - Frontier League (FL) London Rippers
We appreciate the London Free Press bringing to discussion our problems with beer at our games. Steve Green has been a fair journalist, covering our games and players, and we are happy to welcome him at the Park. However, we would like to clarify some inaccuracies in the article.
When we signed a lease with the City of London, we became the Primary and only tenant with the City, as the London Majors were operating at the park without a lease at the time. Labatt Park is a City owned address and therefore, they control the rights of tenants on municipal property. The lease directs the rights of a Liquor License to the Primary tenant. It is the City's decision to allow; a business, a family reunion, a soccer tournament or a professional or amateur baseball team, the ability to obtain a liquor license on its property. The City has an obligation to fulfill the rights given under the contract to clear the path, in this case the address, for us to pursue our license with the AGCO.
The Majors' license prohibits and blocks any other organization from obtaining their own license or allowing any other party from serving alcohol at any event held at Labatt Park.
For the record, the London Majors have been anything but helpful with our attempts to obtain the license for business use. Mayor Fontana brought them in, demanded they work with us for the best interest of the City of London, and they have done no such thing. Instead, the London Majors asked that we pay $24,000 per season to use their liquor license.
Along with other alternatives, we are considering the offer but are hesitant about paying the Majors for the exclusive use of a license, which they obtained through city consent.
It is said the Majors are willing to help settle the matter if they are not put at a disadvantage, when in fact they are trying to profit from it.
Additionally, Council said, on the record at a City Council meeting in October, that the City would subsidize any revenue loss the Majors suffered after our lease was approved.
We are very disappointed that the City of London has done more to protect an amateur, For-Profit baseball team and their financial standing than helping a new business, which is bringing outside revenue for their hotels, restaurants and shops and creating employment for local residents.
During the 2012 season, the London Rippers have set up $2,100 per diems in city restaurants for each home game, totaling $100,800.
We have invested $72,000 into local hotels, putting up visiting teams during their stay in London.
There is also the $80,000 spent by our organization that goes towards Labatt Park for rental fees and upgrades to the scoreboard and clubhouses.
We understand the name may not be liked by all and we were prepared that some won't buy tickets or come to games. But the City of London may want to contemplate how City actions look to other Municipalities and other business owners.
We were prepared to make a 5 year / $250,000 commitment to the City of London. It was City Council that asked for a one year renewable lease. The naysayers said we would be in-and-out in a year, leaving the City holding the bag.
Our organization has done everything that has been requested by us from the City of London and we continue to run into roadblocks that are impeding our ability to run a successful business.
It should be very clear, the tax payers of London are not subsidizing our operation, but the same cannot be said for the London Majors, which are a For-Profit company.
We want to thank our amazing fans in London and around the world for their support.
We are trying to give you a great experience at the park and in our stands. You are why we continue to fight the good fight.
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