(CN) - The new owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team says the former owner is demanding outrageous rent for the parking lot - nearly twice the rent the team pays for the stadium. The parking lot was carved out of the stadium property after creditors sued the old owner in bankruptcy court.
Plaintiff Rangers Baseball Express bought the team from Texas Rangers Baseball Partners (TRBP) in August 2010. TRBP was owned by Hicks Sports Group (HSG); both entities were owned and/or controlled by Tom Hicks. The defendant in this complaint, Ballpark Real Estate (BRE), is "a Hicks affiliate," according to the complaint in Tarrant County Court, Fort Worth.
In bankruptcy proceeding, "creditors of the Hicks' entity, HSG, objected to the proposed sale of the BRE property on grounds that it would unjustly enrich HSG to the detriment of its creditors," according to the complaint.
The bankruptcy court ordered that BRE negotiate an agreement with the new owners at fair market value, the complaint states.
However, "In total indifference to the LUA [land use agreement], BRE and Hicks Holdings have tried to saddle the Rangers with a $3.5 million rental charge for use of the BRE property," the complaint states. "This would equate to almost twice the amount the Rangers pay the City of Arlington to lease the entire ballpark."
Rangers Baseball says it will suffer irreparable harm unless a judge stops Ballpark's "price-gouging."
Without intervention, Rangers season ticketholders will face drastic parking-price increases, beginning with the team's next home stand on Monday, creating ill-will toward the team, the new owners claim.
Rangers Baseball asks a judge to declare that it has the right to use Ballpark's property for the 2011 season in the same manner as the team did for the 2010 season; to let the Rangers operate parking on Ballpark property for all Rangers games, daytime uses and non-Rangers events; to let the Rangers be responsible for costs and maintenance of the parking lots; and to allow the parking lot revenue to be allocated between the Rangers and Ballpark in the same manner it was in 2010. The Rangers are represented by Marshall Searcy with Kelly Hart & Hallman.Follow @@joeharris_stl
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.