ATLANTA -- Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed says he wants to see the Atlanta Braves settle a $400,000 dispute with their current landlord at Turner Field.
An 11Alive exclusive investigation found that the authority that runs Turner Field says the Braves shortchanged them for the last six years.
“I think it’s wholly appropriate to hold a business to account and make them honor their agreement," Reed said this week, without taking sides in the issue. "And if they have a dispute, I think they should hash it out.”
The dispute is rooted in the money that comes from paid parking at the Braves lots around Turner Field. The team collects the money paid by folks using the lots. The team then pays a portion to the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation authority, the ballpark’s landlord.
The dispute, revealed in documents obtained by 11Alive news, centers on special events parking. The recreation authority says it is supposed to collect fifty percent of the revenue for special event parking. But for the last six years, it says the Braves have only paid eight percent – resulting in the bulk of a $400,000 shortfall.
The disputed funds would go into the SMP fund, designed to benefit the communities of Summerhill, Mechanicsville and Peoplestown, which surround Turner Field.
The Braves deny that they owe the money, saying that there are “numerous errors in (the Recreation Authority’s) assumptions” that “reflected a position contrary to the one they held for the past 19 years.”
“This is a legitimate dispute," Reed said. "They ought to be able to work it out in a calm way. The amount of money at stake is not a massive amount of money to us. But it does mean a lot to the people of Summerhill” and the other communities.
The dispute arises as the Braves are beginning to vacate Turner Field for good. The team’s lease expires in December. They will play next year in a new ballpark in Cobb County.
The Braves have offered a settlement worth $25,000, or sixteen cents on the dollar of the $400,000 dispute. We’re told the negotiations between the team and the recreation authority over the allegedly outstanding parking revenue are ongoing.