Nueces County Commissioners have agreed to a $100,000 settlement for a two-year lawsuit against the former owner of the now-defunct Coastal Bend Aviators baseball club.
The settlement was approved during a March 17 meeting of the Commissioners Court. Precinct 3 Commissioner Oscar Ortiz, whose precinct includes the baseball field the team used, said the decision to settle was in the best interests of the county and its residents.
"It's a long process and that's a part of doing business. Anybody who's ever had tenants knows there are times you have to collect," Ortiz said. "There are many reasons for them owing the money. The fact of the matter is these are public funds and we need to protect the taxpayers."
The county's lawsuit against Chen, Coastal Bend Baseball Club LLC and T-L Baseball LLC was filed in November 2008, in order to get back about $115,000 in rent and other expenses from Chen for the Aviators' final season at Fairgrounds Field.
The Aviators, members of the American Association of Independent Baseball, seemingly disappeared after the 2007 season ended. Phones were disconnected and staff was emptied out of the team's offices. The county later terminated the team's 20-year lease, which was supposed to end in October 2023, and authorized the county attorney to seek payment from the team's owner.
The county turned down an original settlement offer of $10,000 from Chen in November.
Now, with the lawsuit finally resolved, Ortiz is hoping the issue will finally be put to rest.
"We're ready to put this behind us and move on to other opportunities with the baseball field," Ortiz said.