Thursday, July 29, 2004

Florence Freedom hit with 9th lien

By Brenna R. Kelly
Enquirer staff writer

Nine liens have now been filed against the owners of the Florence Freedom by contractors who say they haven't been paid.

The latest lien was filed Wednesday by the Overhead Door Co. The company says it installed seven rolling doors at Champion Window Field but has not been paid the $21,822.

The team now owes $2,950,808 to contractors who worked on the yet-to-be completed stadium. Work has been halted on the stadium and the team's majority owners, Connie and Chuck Hildebrant, have not commented publicly about the team's troubles.

But late Wednesday, the Frontier League announced Commissioner Bill Lee will hold a press conference this morning at the stadium. Lee, who runs the 12-team league, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Dennis Buckley, attorney for the team's leadership group, Northern Kentucky Professional Baseball, said he had not talked to the Hildebrants but is in contact with the team's other owners. "The ownership group is attempting to see what they can do to get things back on track," Buckley said.

Under the team's lease with the city of Florence, the team's ownership group has until Aug. 22 to clear the liens. If they are not paid, the city could evict the team.

After the deadline, the Freedom has six home games. The Freedom was playing in Evansville Wednesday and was to return to Florence for a home game Saturday.

The team is averaging 1,779 fans at the 4,500-seat stadium. Tuesday, about 1,060 fans attended one of two games.

Also Wednesday, the Florence Freedom's Web site, which once listed schedules, promotions, photos, and other information was wiped clean.

A message was later posted on the site. It read: "This Web site is temporarily under construction to better serve the fans of the Freedom."


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