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Nebraska baseball managers, city clash over refund for games

Nebraska baseball managers, city clash over refund for games. (MGN)

BELLEVUE, Neb. (AP) — A city in eastern Nebraska and the managers of a local baseball complex are disputing who's responsible to pay refunds for a youth baseball tournament that was scrapped because of a tornado.

Parents from nearly 50 youth baseball teams across the country haven't been refunded the $8,000 to $11,000 they each paid for a canceled June tournament at the Champions Village complex in Bellevue, the Omaha World-Herald reported.

In exchange for management and a fee paid to the city, World Baseball Village is allowed to use the $6.5 million complex to host private tournaments.

World Baseball Village managers sent an email Tuesday to parents saying they can't refund money unless the city returns a $250,000 lease payment they paid Bellevue, which owns the property. Managers also said the city had not fixed the facility after the storm, so the fields are not usable and other scheduled tournaments need to be canceled.

The city responded Wednesday saying it was "unfortunate" the village was "trying to blame the city for its failed business."

"The risk of loss was allocated to WBV under the management contract, and this is its responsibility," said Bellevue City Attorney Pat Sullivan.

Several parents said they just wanted to let their kids play ball.

"At the end of the day, it's just disappointing that adults can take something as simple and as fun as the game of baseball and turn it into such a mess," said Tara Tennant, a parent of a baseball player from Houston.

City Administrator Joe Mangiamelli said the city won't make repairs to the complex until officials know how the land will be used in the future.

Andrew Rainbolt, executive director of the Sarpy County Economic Development Corp., said there's potential to turn the destroyed property into an industrial park because of the land's proximity to a four-lane highway and lack of nearby housing.

But City Council President John Hansen said he liked that the land was a sports complex because of the area's love of baseball.

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