Jackson County leaders respond Royals, Chiefs stadium lease claim

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — On Monday, the Committee to Keep the Chiefs and Royals in Jackson County posted on X saying a “proposed lease WAS submitted to the County and CBA efforts continue.”

But county leaders say they haven’t seen it.

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“I was unaware that a lease agreement was sent over,” Democratic Jackson County Legislator Manny Abarca told FOX4 on Monday. “So I think again this goes back to the transparency from the executive’s office.”

Abarca pointed to gaps in communication he said have taken place on this issue whether they be purposeful or not.

“As the chief executive of the entire county, if he doesn’t know about it, that’s a ‘him’ problem,” Abarca continued, talking about Democratic County Executive Frank White.

“That’s a problem that he needs to go figure out why he doesn’t know about it. He’s the one where the buck stops, so I don’t understand how you could not know that.”

White confirmed he hasn’t seen any proposed lease from the Royals and Chiefs as they both hope to advance their respective stadium projects.

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“I have not, nor has anyone in my office, received any proposed lease agreements for the Royals and Chiefs,” White said in a statement to FOX4 Tuesday.

“Additionally, my Administration and I have had no negotiations with either team since my veto of the stadium sales tax initiative was overridden by the Legislature over a month ago. Anyone engaging in significant discussions with the teams’ regarding their future in Jackson County is not acting on my behalf or in the taxpayers’ best interests.”

“With absentee voting already underway on this proposed $2 billion taxpayer investment, it’s crucial that various unresolved issues I’ve previously highlighted are properly addressed in any forthcoming lease agreement,” White continued.

“I’m fully prepared to collaborate with the Legislature’s chair and vice-chair, as well as the Chiefs and the Royals, to ensure an agreement that is fair and equitable for everyone involved.”

On Tuesday, FOX4 was able to talk to Jackson County Legislator Sean Smith.

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“I don’t know what concrete evidence there is that anybody officially in the county has gotten a copy of a lease draft from either team,” Smith said.

Smith said the teams are in active discussions with the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority, but the Royals and Chiefs’ landlord would not comment on this story on camera.

The Royals later clarified their lease is in the hands of the Jackson County Sports Complex Authority.

“The Jackson County Sports Authority has a full copy of our proposed lease, which was sent last week. We look forward to detailed discussions with all appropriate parties as soon as possible to achieve a fair agreement for the taxpayers of Jackson County.”

FOX4 also emailed and called the Hardwick Law Firm on Tuesday to ask if they had the reported leases the teams submitted. We did not hear back from them Tuesday afternoon. The county hired that group in September to help with the stadium issue.

The Chiefs and Royals would not comment on Abarca or White’s remarks from Monday and Tuesday.

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