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San Angelo Standard-Times (Texas)
The San Angelo Colts Baseball Club LLC has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but the team will continue to play this season, majority owner John Bryant said Wednesday.
The Colts recently received notice of foreclosure from their lender on the stadium note for Foster Field, where the team has played since 2000.
Bryant said the note was originated in 1999 for $3 million, and the total debt that remains is $382,545, which includes a mortgage payment of $90,000 per year.
"The Colts have vastly more assets than debts, but the issue was cash flow," said Bryant, who estimated the Colts' assets at $4.5 million. "So rather than risk losing the stadium, we filed a Chapter 11 petition to stop foreclosure and give the team time to make arrangements to pay the loan off."
Bryant said the financial move will have no effect on operations for the Colts, who hosted the Fort Worth Cats on Wednesday.
"They're in no danger of folding now. ... The team will continue to play just as before. Nothing will change in that regard," Bryant said. "I think this will be resolved in 30 to 60 days."
Colts General Manager Heath Brown said he talked to the team about the situation before Wednesday's game.
"I told the coaches, players and my staff about it," Brown said. "I laid it out for them and allowed everyone to ask questions about it. Everybody seemed very understanding."
In addition to eight rainouts this summer, the Colts have averaged 438 fans per game. That's a stark drop from just two years ago when the team averaged 2,143 fans each night.
Last year that number fell to 1,083 per game.
The team is without a radio announcer for the first time in its 15-year history. Other fixtures, such as between-inning games and nightly promotions, also are gone. In addition, the Colts have been mired in a four-team league the past two seasons and thus face the same three opponents all summer.
The situation has left fans wondering about the Colts' future.
"It's fair to say we've come through a very difficult period here," Bryant said. "But I think we're turning it around as we speak. The staff we have now is doing a good job. They've changed a lot of things. They're civically active. They're doing a good job with group sales and sponsorship sales.
"What we really need is a whole recapitalization of the Colts. We've already put $50,000 into the Colts in recent months, and we intend to put quite a bit more in, as well. Once the stadium matter gets resolved, the Colts will not have the burden of that mortgage payment."
Bryant said once the mortgage payment is eliminated, the Colts can increase their staff and run operations under more ideal circumstances.
The Colts also plan on joining a bigger league next season, Bryant said.
"The economy is starting to move again, and we've seen a lot of things change in our favor," Bryant said. "We believe in what we're doing, and we're going to be sticking with it."
Follow Paul Harris on Twitter @PaulHarrisSAST.